Review of Manila Bay reclamation projects eyed
MANILA, Philippines — In line with President Duterte’s order to clean up Manila Bay, the government is mulling a review of all reclamation projects, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said yesterday.
Año said they will coordinate with other government agencies to determine if the reclamation projects are in accordance with the country’s laws.
“Bubusisiin muna natin yan. Titingnan muna natin kung iyan ay alinsunod sa batas (We will scrutinize them. We will check if they follow the laws),” he said in an interview over dzMM.
Año cited some of the laws as Republic Act 9003 or the Solid Waste Management Act, RA 9275 or the Clean Water Act and RA 8550, also known as the Philippine Fisheries Code.
The projects involve the reclamation of at least 26,230 hectares of Manila Bay.
The DILG is among the government agencies tasked to rehabilitate Manila Bay on the orders of Duterte.
Año said they will create an inter-agency task force similar to what was created during the rehabilitation of Boracay Island. It will have inspection, investigation and audit teams that will look into the structures along Manila Bay and its connecting waterways.
Among the units they will tap is the Philippine National Police-Maritime Group for the implementation of laws and ordinances.
The task force will be chaired by Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu while Año is one of the vice-chairpersons.
They plan to clear Manila Bay and other tributaries of informal settler families, who will be relocated elsewhere.
Año said they will also inspect factories and other commercial establishments to check if they have a treatment facility for their wastewater or “ipapasara natin yan (we will shut them down).”
The Department of Tourism, meanwhile, said yesterday it will hold consultations with accredited tourism establishments in all parts of the country after Duterte blamed hotels without proper sewage treatment plants for polluting Manila Bay.
Jose Clemente, Tourism Congress of the Philippines president, told The STAR that while they would be more than happy to help, “we have yet to be informed as to which properties are supposedly dumping into the bay, if any. We just want to know what the bases were for the statements made.”
Cimatu earlier said Manila Bay’s waters have reached 350 million most probable number fecal coliform bacteria per 100 milliliter while Boracay’s waters reached only 100 million MPN per 100 ml at most when the President called the island a “cesspool.” – With Catherine Talavera