DENR to close off Manila Bay as swimming remains unsafe

admin   •   February 4, 2019   •   2670

Portion of the Manila Bay days after the massive clean up on January 27, 2019. (Christopher Tolentino)

MANILA, Philippines — Just a week following the massive clean-up drive in Manila Bay, local and foreign tourists started to crowd the formerly trash-filled, neglected seaside promenade known as the ‘baywalk’ along Roxas Boulevard.

Families can now spread their picnic mats on the sand and wait to capture the iconic sunset by the bay.

Some couldn’t resist the enticing water and would carelessly plunge into the bay despite warnings of health risks from authorities.

One of them was Mitch Colon who was carrying her baby in her arms while wading through the waters of Manila Bay.

“Laking Maynila din naman po kami kaya sanay rin po kami sa mga ganyan. Pagkatapos niyan magbabanlaw sa bahay kasi baka delikado rin,” said Colon.

Some residents say they now appreciate the change that has come to Manila Bay.

Before the launch of the “Battle for Manila Bay”, they rarely visited the place because of the pile of trash and the stench of the dark and obviously dirty water.

“Maganda na siya. Malinis na siya. First time ko lang po, kasi madumi siya dati,” said Victoria Fuentes.

“Noong dalaga ako, naliligo rin ako dito. Kaso (naging) marumi. Ngayon okay na,” noted Edith Cruz.

Volunteers like Nelson Delgado said it has become a routine for him to pick pieces of trash at the bayside saying it is his way of helping the environment and to protect the visitors in the place especially children.

“Tulong na lang po sa kalikasan saka kay Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte. Nagwo-worry kasi ako, ang dami kasing bubog. Ngayon kahit pagod kami, makita namin iyong mga tao, iyong mga bata na masaya, masaya na rin po kami,” Delgado said.

But despite the enjoyment of the visiting public, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) maintained that it is not yet recommended to swim in Manila Bay.

The agency plans to place warning signages and fences around the bay area to bar the public from swimming.

DENR Undersecretary Sherwin Rigor in a text message said: “There is not advice from DENR to swim in Manila Bay. It is not yet fit for swimming”.

The agency explained that for a body of water to be safe for human contact or for recreation, its fecal coliform content must fall within the 100 most probable number (MPN) per milliliters.

In the case of Manila Bay, the water is far from safe level since it hit the 1.3 billion MPN per 100 ml. in fecal coliform content.

The DENR together with the Department of Health (DOH) earlier warned the public that the water of Manila Bay is not yet safe for recreation.

The agencies said getting contracted with diseases like cholera, diarrhea and skin infections are still high due to the water’s level of contamination.— Marje Pelayo (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

Gov’t extends rehabilitation works in El Nido

Marje Pelayo   •   August 2, 2019

El Nido Lagoon in Palawan

MANILA, Philippines – Top tourist destination El Nido in Palawan will not be closed to tourists despite decision to extend rehabilitation works in the island.

The rehabilitation program is managed by an interagency task force composed of the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources, the Interior and Local Government and Tourism.

On August 4 a 20-day inspection and investigation will commence to determine the owners and which establishments are non-compliant to the environmental law and hold no necessary permits.

Those who fail government auditing will be ordered closed.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año noted however, that it would be impossible to demolish all structures established within the 20-meter easement zone.

“What we want to promote are the islands of El Nido,” Año said.

“Doon dapat pumunta ang mga tourist doon sa sentro (Tourists should be led to the city center). It’s more on commercial ang lodging, accommodation for the tourist,” he added.

Meanwhile, several areas in Bacuit Bay were declared ‘no swimming zone’ due to contaminated water and because the structures there were already by the beach.

These areas are the Corong-Corong Outfall, El Nido Estero Outfall, Masagana Outfall anf Cabugao Outfall.

“Ang Corong-Corong Outfall, ang fecal coliform is now at 99,315. Ang normal is 100, (Corong-Corong Outfall’s fecal coliform (level) is now at 99,315. The normal level is (only) 100,)” noted Tourism Secretary Bernadet Romolu-Puyat.

“Maiintindihan naman nila siguro kung bakit bawal mag swimming, (They would understand why swimming is banned),” she added.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu stressed that this effort of the government is a way to protect the area and so as not to worsen pollution problems in the island such as what happened in Boracay.

“We will continue to stop this because we cannot allow na mag-deteriorate ang El Nido (to deteriorate) into another Boracay,” Cimatu said.

According to DOT, there are about 200,000 tourists that visit El Nido every year. – with reports from Rey Pelayo

MRT-3 management estimates rehabilitation will take two years

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 12, 2019

The rehabilitation of the MRT-3 will still have to take two years.

The management of the Metro Rail Transit-3 said the new train rails have already arrived in the country.

Once all the rail parts arrive in October, rail replacement will begin by November.

MRT Engineer-V Engr. Oscar Bongon said they are considering suspending train operations during weekends to expedite the rehabilitation.

“Kapag nag-decide po iyong management na mapabilis pwede po tayong mag add ng additional day or i-extend iyong oras para mas mabilis po nating matapos iyong rail replacement (Once the management decides to speed up the rail replacement, we can add an additional day or extend hours),” he said.

Once the rehabilitation is finished, 20 trains will become operational from the 13 to 15 trains currently operating.

The train speed will also improve, from 30 kilometers per hour (kph) to 60 kph, reducing the travel time from one hour to 30 minutes.

Headway will also be reduced to three minutes compared to the previous 7 seven minutes.—AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

Old structures in Manila need checking for quality, safety — Solidum

Marje Pelayo   •   July 9, 2019

Courtesy : Thebureauasia.com

MANILA, Philippines – Science and Technology Undersecretary Renato Solidum has recommended placing under quality assessment all old structures in the city of Manila.

This is in reaction to Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso’s remarks about the city’s lack of a concrete risk reduction management plan or a detailed hazard map.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) Director said the local government of Manila should primarily address the city’s disaster preparedness and capability ahead of the ‘Big One’ or the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that the West Valley Fault may generate in the future.

“Tingnan kung ano ba ang kalidad ng mga bahay at gusali (Check the quality of the houses and buildings),” Solidum noted.

“Ang Manila maraming luma. Marami ding informal settlement at marami diyan non-engineered ang mga bahay (Manila has a lot of old (structures), a lot of informal settlement and most of them are non-engineered houses),” he added.

Based on a report from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the city of Manila is a ‘total failure’ when it comes to disaster resilience or its capability to respond in natural disasters and other hazards.

Solidum explained that Manila’s base being a coastal city is prone to liquefaction because it is near Manila Bay.

“Ang kaibahan ng Quezon city sa Manila ay matigas ang foundation ng Quezon city. (Ang) Manila (ay) hindi, kundi malambot (The difference between Quezon City and Manila is that Quezon City has a solid foundation. With Manila, no. It has a yielding base),” Solidum said.

The Quezon City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (QCRRMC) has received the 2018 Gawad Kalasag Award as the Best Local DRRMC under the Highly Urbanized Category.

They have assigned six district evacuation sites other than Quezon City circle.

According to the head of the QCDRRMO Myke Marasigan, they have included in their contingency plan the color-coded alert level to be able to immediately respond to earthquake situations.

“If the magnitude and the epicenter is near Quezon city, for example 5.5 below, then we could always trigger the yellow alert meaning on-call, standby and do damage assessment immediately,” Marasigan explained.

The QCDRRMO also conducts regular earthquake drills to prepare the residents for potential ground shaking.

The city government is making sure of preparing all barangays since they cannot rescue everyone at the same time.

“They will be ready as an individual, ibig sabihin meron kang (meaning you have your) ‘Go Bag’ ready or disaster kits na sinasabi natin,” Marasigan said.

“Susunod niyan as a family kung nagusap-usap na ba tayo pag halimbawa lumildol magkakahiwalay tayo saan tayo mag-mi-meetup? (Next is the family. Have you set up a plan that in case of an earthquake and you’ve been separated from one another, where should you meet?),” he added.

According to Solidum, the city of Manila is able to prepare its residents but it is important that they do it systematically. – with details from Rey Pelayo.

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+63) 396-8688 (Tel)

(+63) 2 920.8336 (Fax)

info@untvweb.com (General inquiries)

support@untvweb.com

UNTV News and Rescue Emergency Hotlines:

LANDLINE (+63) 396-8688

ADVERTISE WITH US

(+63) 2 442.6244 Loc. 143, 144, 162, 164

advertising@untvweb.com

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.