More celebrities led by presidential sister and television host Kris Aquino threw their support for the newly launched Pasig River ferry.
Aquino, together with fellow actresses Carmina Villaroel and Erich Gonzales, rode the ferry on Monday from Plaza Mexico in Manila to Guadalupe in Makati City.
They joined Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Tolentino in inspecting the ferry terminals.
Aquino said the ferry is an alternative mode of transport for the Metro Manila residents despite the foul smell from the river.
“At the very start, the chairman admitted that more things should be done. So if you want this to be viable and usable you should find some ways,” said Aquino.
She urged everyone to take part in cleaning up the river.
“We have been complaining about the heavy traffic, now we were given alternatives but it’s up to us to do our share,” she said.
Aquino hailed the local government of Mandaluyong and Makati City, whose areas along the Pasig River were “noticeably” clean.
During its maiden run, actress Shaina Magdayao rode the ferry where she witnessed the sorry state of the Pasig River.
Tolentino urged local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila to help in cleaning the dirty waterways that flow into the Pasig.
He said aside from the maintenance of the ferry terminals, the LGUs along the river should also help in cleaning the tributaries.
In 2011, the river’s foul smell led to the dwindling in the number of passengers, eventually to the closure of ferry companies, including the Nautical Transport Services Inc.
He said the ferry service is still a “work in progress.”
The MMDA decided to extend the “Libreng Sakay” on ferry service starting on Monday.
Tolentino said this will enable the agency and the proponents of the ferry system to fine tune the operations of the mass transport system.
He also disclosed that he would meet private groups that want to get involved in the operation of the ferry system.
Currently, the ferry serves Guadalupe, Makati; Pinagbuhatan, Pasig; and Escolta, Manila routes. – RITCHIE A. HORARIO