A total of 96 companies surrounding the Manila Bay area were issued notices of violations (NOVs) by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) arising from their wanton discharge of untreated wastewater and for lack of environmental compliance certificate (ECC) and other valid permits.
The Environmental Management Bureau, a line agency under the DENR, has stepped up its monitoring of firms along the Manila Bay region in light of the Supreme Court decision last year for the immediate rehabilitation of the country’s premier bay famous for its golden sunset.
We want these companies to know how serious we are in improving the state of Manila Bay and protecting public health. Companies that refuse to clean up their acts will be closed down and will never be allowed to operate.
Of the 96 companies issued with NOVs, 43 were located in Metro Manila, 31 were within Region 3 and 22 in Region 4A.
In Region 3, 22 companies were cited for operating without environmental compliance certificates in violation of P.D. 1586 or the Philippine Environmental Impact Statement System; 17 for violating the Clean Air Act (RA 8749; eight for violating the Clean Water Act (RA 9275) and two for violating the Toxic Substances and Hazardous Waste Act (RA 6969). The rest of the companies in Metro Manila and Region 4A were generally cited either for discharging wastewater that exceeds the DENR standards for effluent or for operating without the required permits.
I have also directed the EMB to institute measures to assist the polluting companies to upgrade their environmental performance through technical conferences. However, companies who continue to defy DENR orders will be dealt with accordingly.
We are not against development. We support Filipino companies and we want them to succeed in their business ventures because they provide livelihood to our people and revenues for the government. But, at the same time, we want them to improve on their environmental performance because there is no other way for the country to move forward and attain sustainable development but for all of us to do our share in protecting our environment.
In its 36-page decision in December last year, the SC has directed the DENR and 10 other agencies of the government to fulfill their mandates “on a continuing mandamus” to clean up, rehabilitate and preserve Manila Bay, and restore its water quality.
The SC also specifically ordered the DENR to fully implement its Operational Plan for the Manila Bay Coastal Strategy (OPMBCS). Through the OPMBCS, the DENR aims to reduce adverse impacts from land-based activities and revive Manila Bay.
For decades, the degradation of Manila Bay continues to take place as it has become the “septic tank” of industrial and domestic wastes from the National Capital Region and other neighboring regions.
The high court took note of the on-going environmental degradation of Manila Bay that is why it emphasized the extreme necessity for all concerned agencies to immediately act and discharge their respective official duties and mandates on a continuing mandamus.