OLONGAPO CITY, December 2, 2004 (STAR) By Bebot Sison Jr. - "A journey of a thousand mile begins with a single step," Olongapo City Mayor James J. Gordon Jr. borrowed the famous phrase to emphasize the enormous task of reviving the rivers in the city during the launching last Friday of the an environmental preservation project.

Gordon said city government employees and officials including members of the city council, barangay and community leaders fully support this worthy project

Both the Olongapo City government and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) vowed to continuously implement the project that includes an educational program involving outlying communities and the passage of city ordinances that would impose stiffer penalties to violators.

"Letís all help to preserve and save mother earth." This was the message SBMA Administrator Alfredo C. Antonio delivered during the launching of an environmental preservation campaign to clean the stinking and polluted rivers separating the Olongapo City and the Freeport zone.

"Kalaklan river is being used as a demarcation line to identify the boundaries separating the Freeport zone and Olongapo City but with this river clean-up project it is now a symbol of cooperation and teamwork aiming at a common cause in environmental preservation," Antonio added.

Antonio said the Kalaklan River clean-up project is just the start of a more vibrant mutual collaboration between the SBMA and Olongapo City particularly in tourism-related projects, investments generation and more importantly, in the creation of more employment opportunities through job fairs.

SBMA labor department manager Severo Pastor, project coordinator, said the project "aims to bring a hero in all of us" through Bayanihan, a famous Filipino tradition that depicts the spirit of cooperation.

"Bayanihan can easily solve problems or crisis that will arise in our society and this river clean-up project would serve as a model in this Filipino concept for the new generation," Pastor explained.

Dubbed "Tulong-tulong Sa Kalinisan ng Ilog Kalaklan", the project is also being supported by various investors inside the Freeport zone, civic organizations and non-government organizations.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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