THE good news is that the rehabilitation of historic Manila Bay, whose breathtaking sunset continues to draw thousands of foreign and local tourists throughout the year, is “on the right track.”
Secretary Roy Cimatu of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) made the statement recently during the first meeting of the inter-agency “Task Force Manila Bay.”
Created last month by President Duterte’s Administrative Order (AO) No. 16, the DENR-led task force seeks to expedite the three-phase rehabilitation project, dubbed “Battle of Manila Bay.”
Cimatu said that the issuance of the administrative order monuments the full trust and confidence of the Chief Executive from Davao City that the clean-up is not an impossible mission.
“I can proudly say, we are heading in the right direction,” said Cimatu, a close associate of President Duterte and a former chief of staff of the powerful Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Doable and achievable, the gigantic undertaking, which was launched last January 27, calls for the rehabilitation and restoration of the coastal and marine ecosystems of the heavily-polluted bay.
Of course, it is heartening to note that the Filipino people, including the private sector, are willing to spend billions of pesos just to restore the beauty and grandeur of the sun-kissed Manila Bay.
Cimatu paid a glowing tribute to local government units (LGUs), private sector, academe and non-government organizations (NGOs) for supporting the unprecedented clean-up activity.
Like other Filipinos, we share the view of the soft-spoken but highly-effective DENR chief that the Manila Bay rehabilitation is not just an environmental issue, but also a socio-economic issue.
To hasten the clean-up, it’s time to step up the pressure on those polluting the bay to stop using esteros, drainage canals, rivers, creeks, streams and other waterways as dumpsites.