Bulacan environmentalists welcome SONA protection message
Ramon Efren Lazaro (The Philippine Star) - August 2, 2018 - 12:00am

MALOLOS, Philippines — Bulacan environmentalists welcomed President Duterte’s pronouncement on environmental protection in his recent State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Bro. Martin Francisco, chairman of the Sagip Sierra Madre Environmentalists Society Inc. (SSMESI),  said they too are glad that the government will give top priority to environmental protection for the country’s watersheds and stop open pit mining as announced by the President in his SONA.

“We are hopeful that appropriate laws will be implemented immediately with matching political will together with the passage of the Forest Resources Bill and Alternative Peoples Mining Bill,” Francisco added.

On the other hand, Maria Fema Duterte, SSMESI vice chairman and currently a director of the Nayong Pilipino Foundation, told her fellow environmentalists that she approached Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu after the SONA and informed him about the problems besetting Bantay Gubat, whose personnel protect the watersheds of Angat and Ipo Dams that supply most of the raw water needs of Metro Manila.

Duterte also told Cimatu of the delayed wages given by the Metro Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System to the forest rangers.

Former senator Eddie Ilarde, considered as the pioneer environmentalist in Congress, also lauded the President for condemning open pit mining in his SONA.

“We are sure he is also aware of the horrible degradation of Laguna de Bay, Pasig River and Manila Bay,” he said, adding that in consultation with urban engineer Jun Palafox, they have laid out a proposal for the massive dredging and cleanup of the three waterways.

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