The Manila Bay Clean-up Drive had gathered a total of 11 truckloads (45.59 tons) of garbage from the baywalk in Roxas Boulevard, Manila, according to Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
The restoration drew more than 5,000 aides, mostly workers from the DENR and 12 other government agencies tasked by the Supreme Court to clean up and initially reestablish Manila Bay in 2008.
With the revival of the clean-up efforts in 2018, the activity began with a solidarity walk from the Quirino Grandstand to the baywalk area. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu commenced the pledge of commitment by all participants and announced the inauguration of the Manila Bay rehabilitation.
“This is one battle that will be won not with force or arms, but with the firm resolve to bring Manila Bay back to his life With commitment and determination of every Filipino to do his share in this rehabilitation effort, we have already won the battle for the Manila Bay,” he said.
Synchronous clean-up exercises were also held in Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan, Navotas, Las Piñas, Cavite and Bulacan, which have waters that flow into the capital’s bay.
Cimatu was accompanied by Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, Acting Information and Communications Technology Secretary Eliseo Rio, Jr., and MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim.
The Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) also gave out cease-and-desist orders to at least three establishments — Aristocrat Restaurant on Roxas Boulevard, Gloria Maris Restaurant at the CCP Complex, and Esplanade (San Miguel By The Bay) due to environmental violations.
LLDA General Manager Jaime Medina said that these establishments “discharge untreated water to esteros, rivers, and other tributaries that flow into Manila Bay.”
Medina said that these establishments can still operate but they will have no water source and they cannot release wastewater. The facilities for wastewater discharge will be closed, not necessarily the establishment, he added.
LLDA also issued warnings for violations against various establishments of SM Prime Holdings, Aliw Inn, Sea Residences, Lolo Taba, and Lolo Pato Restaurant. DENR originally spotted these establishments to be non-compliant with effluent standards under the Republic Act 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 and may pay fines up to P200,000 per day.
“We cannot afford to prolong this cleanup activity because this has long been neglected. Ang pinakamahirap sa rehab ay ang pag-sustain nito. Manila Bay is not a lost cause,” Cimatu said.