Barangay captains near Manila Bay to face sanctions if they do not keep it clean
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday warned barangay captains in areas where there are bodies of water connecting to Manila Bay they will face sanctions if they neglect maintaining its cleanliness.
Interior Undersecretary Martin Dino said the duty of barangay captain is to implement all laws.
“Included is the Republic Act 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000), also Republic Act 9275 or Clean Water Act and the Republic Act 8749 (Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999),” Dino said in his speech in Manila.
Since informal settlers are one of the problems they are facing, especially those living besides the rivers and “estero” or waterway, Dino said barangay captains should be the one to stop the growing number of squatters in those areas.
“Secretary (Eduardo) Ano gave an instruction to those who are covered by Manila Bay clean up. 5,700 barangays from Region 3, Region 4-A and National Capital Region… You start the information drive on the contents of Republic Act 9003,” he said.
“You start arresting those who are throwing garbage in the canal, waterway and rivers because if barangay captains will ignore it, if you will not implement it nothing will happen in this clean up. Remember that trash came from home,” Dino added.
He said even if the agencies clean the Manila Bay several times, if waste coming from home and factories will continue their efforts will just be useless.
“Even if we clean it several times, if throwing of garbage from home continues… liquid waste from factory or coming from those you issued barangay clearance,"
According to the undersecretary, they fired three barangay captains for not properly implementing environmental laws.
Ano also ordered a show cause order to 1,000 barangay captains to clean every weekend.
“While you are cleaning, you will take photos and send it to all branches of DILG that are covering the three regions covered by the Manila Bay,” said Dino.
“I’m sorry. Once you did not follow the order of DILG. It’s either you will be suspended or removed from position,” he said.
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said relocation is part of their plan in rehabilitating Manila Bay.
He said out of the 220,000 families living in squatters, 56,000 are living near waterway and rivers.
Cimatu said it will be better for those living in the affected areas to know how they can solve the problem.
“We have seen this problem… they (residents) know the problem but if you show them how to solve, this much better for them,” he said.
“Barangay captains will solve the problem in Manila Bay. It will not be the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources)… That’s how we trust the barangay captain. It’s like saying the success or failure of the cleanup of Manila Bay will rest on the barangay captains,” he said.
Cimatu said the real problem of Manila Bay is garbage and since it has remained there for a long time, it is difficult o remove it.
“It looks clean if you are looking at the shoreline but if you check the water, you step upon the supposed to be sand… it’s not sand. What you stepped in is hardened garbage,” said Cimatu.
He said their battle cry is to clean the Manila Bay.
“We need to clean and rehabilitate the Manila Bay in consideration to some vital national concerns. Manila Bay has become the pollution hotspot in the southern part of East Asia,” he said.
“It has become a potential health hazard to our people. A threat to the nation’s food security and imparting tremendously with our countries biodiversity,” Cimatu added.
The DILG and DENR with other agencies will conduct a simultaneous clean up drive in waterways and rivers on March 31.
Cimatu said there will be backhoes and other material that will help barangays during the clean up.
“The reason is to show force to support this clean up, to show force. The barangays will be the one do all these things not necessarily actual cleaning but to show concern. That is what I ask to all the barangays," he added.
Last January 27, a clean up at Manila Bay along Roxas Boulevard was conducted after the order of President Rodrigo Duterte to rehabilitate the bay after the successful rehabilitation of Boracay last year. Ella Dionisio/DMS