The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) assured that it is all systems go for the start of the Manila Bay rehabilitation on Sunday, January 27.
The rehabilitation, which DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu dubbed as the “Battle for Manila Bay,” will bring together more than 5,000 participants, mostly personnel from the DENR and 12 other government agencies tasked by the Supreme Court to clean up and rehabilitate Manila Bay in 2008.
“This is a battle that will be won not with force or arms but with the firm resolve to bring Manila Bay back to life,” Cimatu said.
The former Armed Forces chief said that Manila Bay, and the environment in general, “is not a lost cause.”
“With the commitment and determination of every Filipino to do his share in this rehabilitation effort, we have already won the battle for Manila Bay,” he added.
After the launch, simultaneous cleanup activities will be held at the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area or LPPCHEA and the Marine Tree Park in Navotas in the National Capital Region.
In Region 3, the rehabilitation will be launched in the towns of Obando, Mariveles and Guagua in Bulacan, Bataan and Pampanga provinces, respectively. Meanwhile, a silt curtain will be laid out around a bridge along Manila-Cavite Expressway or CAVITEX, and a cleanup activity at Talaba Dos in Bacoor, Cavite.
Aside from the DENR, other agencies taking part in the rehabilitation are the Department of Tourism, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of National Defense, and Department of Science and Technology.
Also joining are the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, National Housing Authority, Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor, Manila Water Company Inc., Maynilad Water Services Inc., various local government units, non-government organizations, and other stakeholders.
Cimatu said he was grateful for the overwhelming support given by these agencies and all stakeholders for the rehabilitation of Manila Bay.
He said the rehabilitation does not only involve cleanup, but also relocation of illegal settlers and ensuring compliance by establishments around Manila Bay to the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 and other environmental laws.
During the launch of the Manila Bay rehabilitation, Cimatu is expected to reveal the names of establishments initially found to be non-compliant with effluent standards under the country’s clean water law.
“We will serve notices of violation to these establishments whose outfalls discharge untreated water to esteros, rivers and other tributaries that flow into Manila Bay,” Cimatu said.
The launch will begin with a Solidarity Walk at 7am from the Quirino Grandstand to the baywalk area in front of the Rajah Sulayman Park.
Cimatu will lead the Pledge of Commitment by all stakeholders and declare the start of the Manila Bay rehabilitation.
The DENR aims to reduce the coliform level in Manila Bay to less than 270 most probable number (MPN) per 100 milliliters (ml) and in all esteros to 100 mpn/100ml.
Earlier this month, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte approved the Manila Bay rehabilitation plan proposed by the DENR and gave a budget allocation of P42.95 billion for three years.