Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said the strict implementation of the Philippine Clean Water Act is the “key to addressing water quality issues and other environmental problems in the bay.”
Edd Gumban
‘Strict law enforcement needed for Manila Bay cleanup’
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - January 14, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has vowed to strictly implement the country’s Clean Water Law as it beefed up efforts to restore Manila Bay to its pristine state fit for public recreation.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said the strict implementation of the Philippine Clean Water Act is the “key to addressing water quality issues and other environmental problems in the bay.”

Ocular inspections conducted by the DENR showed that several establishments in Manila discharged their wastewater into Manila Bay.

“Establishments have to put up their own sewage treatment plants. They cannot  discharge wastewater in esteros. We are giving them three months to establish STPs,” Cimatu said.

He said the planned rehabilitation of Manila Bay would be in three phases.

Phase 1 covers cleanup and water quality improvement, Phase 2 for rehabilitation and Phase 3 for protection and sustainability.

The first phase will begin this year, which involves the cleanup of esteros and waterways, reduction of the level of fecal coliform and toxic discharges from establishments as well as provision of temporary sanitation facilities for informal settlers residing along the Manila Bay.

Manila Bay waters are considered the most polluted in the country due to domestic sewage, toxic industrial effluents from factories and shipping operations as well as leachate from garbage dumps.

A report from the DENR-attached agency Environmental Management Bureau showed that the fecal coliform level in the bay reached as high as over 330 million most probable number per 100 milliliters. The safe level is only 100 MPN/100ml.

The DENR targets to reduce coliform level to less than 270 MPN/100ml by December this year.

In 2008, the Supreme Court issued a continuing writ of mandamus ordering 13 government agencies to clean up Manila Bay and restore its water quality to Class SB, which is safe for recreational activities such as swimming.

Class SB waters are also suitable for commercial propagation of shellfish and as spawning areas for milkfish and other similar species.

PAL backs cleanup

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has expressed its support for the government’s move to clean up Manila Bay.

In a statement, PAL said Manila Bay is heavily polluted and an all-out campaign for its sustained cleanup would save it for future generations of Filipinos.

“The rehabilitation of the bay will make Manila more livable and attractive for Manilans and foreign visitors” Jaime Bautista, PAL president and chief operating officer, said.

“As a key promoter of tourist travel to Manila and the largest airline based here, PAL supports the government’s efforts to rehabilitate Manila Bay with the same determination that revived Boracay Island. We will be proud to promote a revitalized Manila Bay, with its iconic sunset, as the symbol of a  capital city that welcomes the world to its shores,” Bautista added. – Richmond Mercurio

MANILA BAY PHILIPPINE CLEAN WATER ACT REHABILITATION
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