Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu is counting on barangay leaders to do their share in the Manila Bay rehabilitation by cleaning up the esteros
, rivers and tributaries that flow into the polluted bay.
“It is the barangay captains who can solve the problem of Manila Bay,” he told village executives. The cleanup of the bay rests on them. That is how much I trust them,” he added.
Leaders of at least 200 barangays surrounding the river systems of Pasig-Marikina-San Juan, Muntinlupa-Parañaque-Las Piñas-Zapote, and Malabon-Tullahan-Tinajeros were present during the dialogue held at Bayview Park Hotel in Manila recently.
Cimatu reminded the barangay officials of their duty to enforce environmental laws, particularly the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 and the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004.
“It is the responsibility of the local government units and the barangay captains to implement the environmental laws correctly,” he said.
He said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is offering its assistance to the barangay officials in fulfilling their mandates, including the relocation of illegal settlers along esteros
He urged barangay leaders to exercise political will in guarding against informal settler families trying to return to riverbanks and esteros
despite being relocated.
The DENR chief enjoined them to take part in the simultaneous cleanup of esteros
and rivers around Manila Bay scheduled on March 31.
“Once and for all, we will clear the waterways of garbage,” he said.