DILG: Inventory Manila Bay’s informal settlers

Romina Cabrera - The Philippine Star
DILG: Inventory Manila Bayâs informal settlers
Eighty to 85 percent of trash found in the bay’s waters are from ISFs living along waterways, DILG Undersecretary for operations Epimaco Densing alleged.

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has directed barangays to conduct an inventory of the informal settler families (ISFs) living along Manila Bay’s shoreline and the bay’s tributaries, an official said yesterday.

“We have a baseline and if (the number of ISFs) grow higher, we will have basis to file administrative cases against barangay captains who allowed more ISFs in their barangays,” DILG Undersecretary for operations Epimaco Densing said in Filipino during an interview over radio dzBB.

He said the proliferation of informal settlers along the waterways leading to Manila Bay is an obstacle to the bay’s rehabilitation.

Eighty to 85 percent of trash found in the bay’s waters are from ISFs living along waterways, Densing alleged.

He said the DILG is trying to balance rehabilitating Manila Bay and implementing the Urban Development and Housing Act.

Densing said rehabilitation is not just a one-time cleanup but a culture change.

Last week, the DILG issued a memorandum requiring barangays to conduct weekly cleanup drives and ensure a good waste management system.

Under Memorandum Circular 2019-09, the DILG directed the country’s 178 local government units or LGUs and 5,714 barangays to fulfill their roles and responsibilities that would contribute to the rehabilitation of the Manila Bay.

Volunteers, non-government organizations and civic society organizations could be tapped in the cleanup drives to help support the rehabilitation initiative, the DILG said.

DPWH to buy trash skimmer

Meanwhile, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is planning to purchase a trash skimmer that would help collect the garbage floating in the waters of Manila Bay.

In an interview over “The Chiefs” aired over Cignal TV’s One News, Secretary Mark Villar said the trash skimmer would be one of the DPWH’s contributions to the government’s Manila Bay rehabilitation project.

“We would be deploying heavy machineries in certain areas, we would come up with programs like the trash skimmer. We would bring in an industrial equipment to clean up on industrial scale,” he said.  

“We need to make it more efficient so we need to buy heavy equipment,” Villar added.

He said a machine that could remove tons of trash is needed because removing garbage by hand would take a long time to improve water quality. 

Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu earlier said that it would take seven years before they complete the rehabilitation of Manila Bay. – With Evelyn Macairan




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