By: Julie M. Aurelio, Inquirer News

Rather than build an expressway on its banks, Sen. Manny Pacquiao would rather see the Pasig River developed into a tourism hub similar to the Brisbane River in Australia.

The presidential candidate said he would actively push for a comprehensive, “honest-to-goodness” cleanup, dredging, and rehabilitation of Metro Manila’s main waterway if he is elected president.ADVERTISEMENT

“I have a plan for the Pasig River, to develop it. It should be dredged and its water treated, then develop its banks, its easement. If it becomes a beautiful river like the one in Brisbane, then many would visit. The Pasig should be developed, not built over,” Pacquiao said.

Pacquiao got the inspiration to develop the Pasig River into a beautiful promenade and river ferry highway when he inspected its entirety before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

While he said the 19.3-kilometer Pasig River Expressway project of the San Miguel Corp. is laudable, the retired boxing champ said this could “cause irreversible damage on the Pasig River.”

Instead of an expressway over the river, he said the government should develop a modern, end-to-end river ferry that can be integrated into a multimodal transport system for Metro Manila.