The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-National Capital Region (DENR-NCR) has recognized the Lingunan Creek in Valenzuela City as Metro Manila's "most improved estero" during the inaugural "Gawad Taga-Ilog" awarding ceremony on Tuesday, March 9.

The "Gawad Taga-Ilog: Search for Most Improved Estero in Metro Manila" gives recognition to the contribution and efforts of local governments—barangays in particular—in keeping their esteros (waterways) and water bodies clean and trash-free.

"We would like to extend our gratitude to all the local executives of Metro Manila, including the barangay officials, who made an extra mile in their cleanup drive despite the challenges we are currently facing due to the pandemic,” DENR-NCR Executive Director Jacqueline Caancan said.

Park Creek 22 in Brgy. Marikina Heights, Marikina City was announced as the Gawad Taga-Ilog 1st runner-up winner, while Bangkulasi River in Brgy. Bangkulasi, NBBS-Dagat-Dagatan and NBBS-Kaunlaran, Navotas City was the 2nd runner-up winner, during the awarding ceremony held at the DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau Amphitheater inside the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center in Quezon City.

Lingunan Creek was also adjudged as the "People's Choice" winner, having received more than 10,000 likes and reactions from the official Facebook page of the DENR-NCR.

The LGU in charge of Lingunan Creek received a trophy and P50,000 cash prize, and an additional P20,000 for winning the People’s Choice Award.

Those in charge of Park Creek 22 and Bangkulasi received P35,000 and P25,000, respectively.

Other cities nominated for the Gawad Taga-Ilog awards were Makati, San Juan, Manila, Parañaque, Quezon, Muntinlupa, Mandaluyong, Pasig, Malabon, Caloocan, and Las Piñas.

The finalists were judged according to physical improvement (40 percent), social mobilization and transformation (30 percent), sustainability and replicability (20 percent), and partnerships (10 percent).

As the Gawad Taga-Ilog also recognizes the active participation of the Metro Manila local governments in the ongoing cleanup and rehabilitation of Manila Bay, all participating cities received waste collector trike, air purifier, and certificate of recognition from the DENR-NCR.

"We will continue to provide assistance to all local government units in cleaning the rivers and other waterways," DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said in his keynote message delivered by Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas Leones. ###