Gov’t to harmonize Manila Bay rehab efforts
Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has welcomed the creation of the inter-agency Manila Bay Task Force, saying it would harmonize and speed up government efforts to rehabilitate pollution-challenged water body.
The task force was created under Administrative Order 16 issued by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, through Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, to ensure the “complete rehabilitation, restoration and conservation of the Manila Bay.”
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The President designated Cimatu as the task force chair, while Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año and Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat will serve as vice chairs. The triumvirate was also behind the successful rehabilitation of Boracay last year.
“We are grateful to President Duterte for prioritizing the Manila Bay rehabilitation,” Cimatu said. “This order will fast track all the work we are doing, delineate responsibilities and coordinate activities of all government agencies involved in the rehabilitation efforts.”
Among its other mandates, the task force is ordered to enforce environmental laws, specifically RA 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.
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It shall ensure that concerned agencies and LGUs undertake appropriate measures relative to violation of environmental laws such as demolition, closure or cessation of business, and/or filing of administrative action against erring persons and establishments.
Likewise, it shall require public and private establishments and households to connect to existing sewerage systems or sewerage treatment plants or their own in accordance with the Presidential Decree 856 or the Code on Sanitation.
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The Manila Bay Region has a coastline of 190 kilometers and covers Central Luzon, CALABARZON (Regions III and IV-A) and the National Capital Region. It consists of 178 local government units and 17 major river systems.
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Other members of the task force are the heads of the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Department of Agriculture, the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission, Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), the Philippine National Police Maritime Group, the Philippine Coast Guard, and the Philippine Ports Authority.
Also part of the task force are representatives of two water concessionaires in Metro Manila and nearby provinces—Manila Water and Maynilad Water Services Inc.