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Manila Bay rehab a must, says pro-environment party-list group.

By Ellson Quismorio

Luntiang Pilipinas Party-List on Sunday backed President Rodrigo Duterte's order for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Department Interior and Local Government (DILG) to clean up Manila Bay--the most famous yet heavily polluted body of water in the country.

"Manila Bay is dying. What compounds the problem is the lack of an effective roadmap for reviving this body of water despite a Supreme Court (SC) order issued 10 years ago," Luntiang Pilipinas First Nominee Michael Ubac said.

Ubac, a veteran journalist, was referring to the High Court's 18 December 2008 ruling ordering 13 government agencies (referred to as mandamus agencies) to "clean up, rehabilitate, and preserve Manila Bay, and restore and maintain its waters to SB level to make them fit for swimming, skin diving, and other forms of contact recreation."

The DENR and DILG were two of these agencies.

Ubac said Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano face a three-pronged problem in cleaning the Bay: 1.) the lack of wastewater treatment facilities of hotels and big establishments that dump their untreated wastewater into the Bay, 2.) the liquid waste from households and solid waste that end up in the Bay, and 3.) the toxic industrial effluents discharged by factories and ships.

About 1,500 tons of waste are illegally dumped daily on private land, in rivers, creeks and in the Bay, according to a study by the Asian Development Bank.

Previous audits undertaken by Greenpeace and EcoWaste Coalition showed that at least 70 percent of Manila Bay wastes are plastic bags and packaging.

President Duterte's order was necessary to save Manila Bay, the party-list said.

"It's good that we have taken notice of this wanton disregard of our environmental laws. We should exert all efforts to clean it up," said Ubac.

The President last week warned hotels along Manila Bay--particularly those that do not have wastewater treatment plants--to "do something about your waste there, otherwise I will close (the hotels)."

"So hotels should put up water treatment plants, or I will shut them down," Duterte said in a speech during a barangay summit on the peace process in Pasay City.


Migratory birds wander in Manila Bay (RIO LEONELLE DELUVIO / MANILA BULLETIN)

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Title Annotation:National
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Jan 13, 2019
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