Lito Atienza's Blog


That’s a tall order from Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Lito Atienza (in floral shirt, upper photo) as he directed the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) to look into the illegal dumping of wastes at the Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando River System and to file appropriate charges against concerned local government units. Atienza, who led volunteers from various sectors to clean up the Marilao River as a culminating activity for the Philippine Water Week and World Water Day celebrations (lower photo), was irked to see tons of garbage floating at the Prenza Dam in Marilao, Bulacan. With Secretary Atienza in the photo are (from left to right) Forest Management Bureau Director Marlo Mendoza, Bulacan 4th District Rep. Reylina Nicolas, Mrs. Evelina Atienza, DENR Assistant Secretary David Suarez and Marilao Mayor Epifanio Guillermo.

A total of 107 various establishments, including local and national government agencies, in the National Capital Region (NCR) were issued notices of violations (NOVs) for discharging untreated wastewater without valid permits and for failing to put up wastewater treatment facilities.

The local governments of Las Piñas, Mandaluyong, Valenzuela, Malabon, San Juan, Parañaque, Navotas, Makati, Caloocan, Quezon, Taguig and Manila, and 31 national government agencies, including the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), have all been served NOVs by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for failing to put up sewage treatment facilities within their respective offices.

We want these government agencies to know how serious we are in improving the state of Manila Bay and protecting public health. The Supreme Court has already emphasized the extreme necessity for all concerned agencies to immediately act and discharge their respective official duties.

No less than President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo herself has directed all government offices in Metro Manila to install or put-up sewage treatment facilities in compliance to the continuing mandamus of the Supreme Court for the immediate rehabilitation of Manila Bay.

Aside from government offices, 66 NOVs were likewise served to commercial establishments and industries that were generally cited either for discharging wastewater that exceeds the DENR standards for effluent or for operating without permit.

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.

That is why we are demanding compliance from these LGUs, to prevent industrial wastes, sewage water and human waste from flowing into the river, connecting creeks to Manila Bay.

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.

I have directed the Environmental Management Bureau 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.

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