DENR to be more aggressive on implementing environmental laws
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - January 7, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has committed to be more aggressive in the enforcement of environmental laws this year to sustain the momentum after the Boracay Island rehabilitation.

“This year, I hope to send a strong message to environmental offenders and to the public of our seriousness in implementing and enforcing environmental laws, rules and regulations,” Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said.

The six-month rehabilitation of the famous tourist destination in the country serves as the “center piece of 2018 accomplishments” of DENR and it aims to achieve more this year.

“In Boracay, our mettle was put to test. We not only passed that test, but also carried over the momentum to other prime ecotourism destinations like El Nido and Coron in Palawan, Panglao Island in Bohol, and Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro,” Cimatu said.

He said that Boracay’s success had spawned demands for replication, prompting the DENR to have the rehabilitation of Manila Bay as its “next big target.”

The Manila Bay rehabilitation calls for a change in approach considering that its water quality has not improved despite a Supreme Court mandamus for its cleanup issued a decade ago.

“We are putting up a Manila Bay command center, we will get the local government units more involved, and we will be more aggressive in enforcing environmental laws, particularly against the discharge of untreated wastewater into the bay,” Cimatu said.

Apart from the Boracay rehabilitation, the DENR, through the National Water Resources Board (NWRB), was also successful in enforcing the Clean Water Act in other parts of the country last year.

The NWRB closed 486 commercial establishments illegally operating deep wells, as well as slapping beverage giant Pepsi Cola Products Inc. with an P11.8 million-fine for operating six deep wells in Muntinlupa City without the necessary permits.

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