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Cimatu urges ISF: Share in Manila Bay rehab

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu on Tuesday urged informal settler families living along waterways to do their share in the Manila Bay rehabilitation through the availment of the government’s relocation program.

Cimatu urges ISF: Share in Manila Bay rehab
THE PRIME MOVER. Environmental lawyer and activist Antonio Oposa Jr. (right) looks at paintings depicting Manila Bay during the Art for Manila Bay Rehabilitation Exhibit organized by the Dynamic Art Group and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources at The Gallery of the Solaire Resort and Casino in Parañaque City. In 1999, Oposa acted as counsel for concerned residents of Manila Bay joined by other respondents who sued the government for its failure to protect Manila Bay for the future generations of Filipinos. The suit led the Supreme Court to issue in 2008 the Writ of Continuing Mandamus to 12 government agencies, including the DENR, for the rehabilitation of Manila Bay and the restoration of its water quality to make it fit for swimming and other contact recreation. Joining Oposa is DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny D. Antiporda. The exhibit runs until July 27, 2019.
He cited the importance of the relocation of the informal settlers, saying such would hasten ongoing efforts to rehabilitate polluted creeks and other waterways draining into the historic bay.

He said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is committed to make Manila Bay “swimmable” by December this year.

He made the appeal when he and Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso inspected last weekend an area along Estero de San Antonio Abad in Malate that used to be occupied by 50 informal settler families.

The area was cleared of illegal structures after the families agreed to transfer to a relocation site of the National Housing Authority in Caloocan City’s Tala district.

At least 20 other informal settler families have been left behind 20 along the waterways, which is one of Manila’s filthiest esteros.

“We would like to appeal to the remaining 20 families to comply with the requirements of the NHA, so that we can already move them to their new location, to a better place. Not atop the water canals,” Cimatu said.

He noted the significant improvement in Estero de San Antonio Abad since majority of the 71 informal settler families along the creek have left and their houses demolished by the Department of Public Works and Highways.

The fecal coliform level in the estero has “dramatically gone down,” he said.

Despite such, he said the cleanup efforts shall continue until the coliform bacteria count reaches acceptable level.

He said he would continue to coordinate with the Manila city government for the rehabilitation of the Malate creek and other esteros leading to the Manila Bay. 

Topics: Roy Cimatu , Department of Environment and Natural Resources , Francisco Domagoso , Manila Bay
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