The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is further heightening our commitment to clean Manila Bay and other major water bodies in the metropolis by forging a memorandum of agreement with four local government units in Metro Manila.
Considering the worsening state of Manila Bay’s waters, its clean up must be approached in synergy with the efforts of the local government units to achieve maximum impact.
The representatives of local government units in the agreement signing were San Juan Vice Mayor Leonardo Celles, Mandaluyong City Planning and Development Officer Armando Commandao, Kalookan City Environment and Natural Resources Officer Hernan de Guzman, and Quezon City Chief Pollution Control Officer Alex Avila.
As the lead agency tasked by the Supreme Court to clean up, rehabilitate and restore Manila Bay, the DENR has been fortifying its partnership with various sectors, including the 10 government agencies directed by the SC to perform their respective mandates and duties in relation to the Manila Bay clean up on a continuing mandamus.
There is no other way for us to realize our goal of restoring Manila Bay, Pasig River and Laguna Lake to their former pristine condition, but through a concerted effort among the national agencies, the local government units, non-government organizations, and the people.
The rehabilitation of Manila Bay, including other major water bodies in the country, is a priority thrust of this administration and is an important component of President Arroyo’s strategy to address global warming and climate change.
The decaying organic waste wantonly dumped into rivers and other waterways emit methane gas which is considered to have greater earth-warming potential than carbon dioxide. It is critical, therefore, that LGUs should strengthen the enforcement of the Solid Waste Management Act to mitigate global warming.
The Department’s partnership with San Juan, Mandaluyong, Kalookan, and Quezon City is primarily geared towards effective implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, including optimization of resources through complementation and convergence of efforts and initiatives on water pollution control, sewerage and sanitation.
The role of LGUs is critical in cleaning up rivers, creeks, esteros and other waterways located within their respective areas of responsibilities that drain into the Pasig River and Manila Bay.
In the overall scheme of environmental law enforcement and environmental management, the local government units are the leading actors because they are at the forefront of environmental governance and that the people look up to their elected local leaders to ensure that their rights to a balanced ecology are protected through proper management of the local environment and their natural wealth.
Among the rivers that drain in Manila Bay and are subject of the clean up agreement include the San Juan River, Meycauayan-Marilao River, Tullahan-Tenejeros River, Parañaque-Zapote River, Pasig River, and Marikina River; while the creeks, esteros and other waterways attached to these rivers are the Maligaya, Casili and Panaka creeks in Kalookan City; Ermitaño and Maytunas creeks, straddling the cities of Mandaluyong and San Juan, including Sanchez and Lambingan bridges in San Juan City; and Culiat, Talayan, San Francisco and Diliman creeks in Quezon City. The above-named rivers and waterways have consistently failed to comply with the DENR ambient water quality standards.
Meanwhile, among the DENR’s responsibilities to the LGUs as defined in the agreement include the provision of technical assistance in the preparation and implementation of the LGUs’ water quality management programs and action plans, ensure coordination with the LGUs on water pollution control, sewerage and sanitation, and assist in the capacity-building of the LGUs’ personnel on water quality monitoring and in the conduct of information campaigns to increase public awareness and commitment in addressing environmental problems.