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DENR begins efforts to restore Manila Bay's 'pristine state'.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has set in motion a vulnerability study of the historic Manila Bay.

Armed with a Supreme Court continuing mandamus to restore Manila Bay to its pristine state, the DENR is now stepping up the effort to rehabilitate Manila Bay, considered one of the country's economically important water bodies.

Last month the DENR's Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB), led by Director Henry Adornado, convened the 'mandamus government agencies' to consolidate the various efforts for Manila Bay's restoration.

In a statement, Adornado said the meeting sought to determine all available information about the status of Manila Bay.

The stock-taking review workshop was held on February 1 and 2 at Richmonde Hotel, Eastwood, Quezon City, and was attended by representatives from 27 government agencies.

The Manila Bay Coordinating Office (MBCO) of the DENR sought the assistance of ERDB, the agency's research and development arm, to conduct a 15-month project that will 'organize and update all existing biophysical information about the Manila Bay Area.'

Adornado told the BusinessMirror that the project will begin as soon as possible.

Part of the project is a vulnerability-assessment study of the coastal and watershed areas in Manila Bay against selected environmental hazards.

Environment Undersecretary Maria Paz Luna of the DENR, the officer in charge for Manila Bay and Water-Related Concerns, who also joined the meeting, emphasized the seriousness and urgency of the problem.

Carmelita Villamor, chief of the Coastal Zone and Freshwater Ecosystems Research Division of the ERDB and also the project lead, said the meeting, which also paved the way for a workshop, provided an avenue for the 160 representatives from 27 agencies, tasked by the Supreme Court to clean up and rehabilitate the Manila Bay to determine the available information at hand that will be crucial in rehabilitating Manila Bay.

Adornado said that issues discussed and clarified during the workshop include availability, location and access of data and information on the management of solid and liquid wastes, habitat and resources, informal-settler families and governance.

At the moment, the available information identified by the mandamus agencies will serve as baseline information to the ERDB Study Team in organizing all the available information in each of the mandamus agencies. 'Baseline data and information will be crucial in monitoring the progress of the implementation of the newly adopted Operational Plan for the Manila Bay Coastal Strategy 2017-2022,' he said.

'To make sound decisions and policies for the Manila Bay area, updated and consolidated science-based information is crucial to identify and address current and potential issues and problems', he added.

For her part, Bighani Manipula, ERDB Assistant Director, underscored the role of science-based information in crafting the needed policies and programs that are in line with the required efforts to bring back the former state of Manila Bay.

The mandamus agencies are divided into five clusters: 1) Liquid Waste Management headed by the EMB-DENR, 2) Solid Waste Management headed by the DILG, 3) Informal Settler Families and Illegal Structures headed by the DILG; 4) Habitat and Resources Management headed by the DENR-BMB; and 5) Institutional Arrangement/Partnership and Governance headed by MBCO.
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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Mar 21, 2018
Words:591
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