PH gov’t tells metro LGUs: Impose strict guidelines on estero clean-up

Robie de Guzman   •   March 18, 2019   •   2547

Estero de San Miguel

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday (March 18) told local officials in Metro Manila to implement strict guidelines on cleaning up all bodies of water draining into the Manila Bay.

This is part of the government’s ongoing efforts to rehabilitate Manila Bay and deal with the sources of its pollution.

In a meeting together with concerned government agencies, DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu challenged village chiefs to impose guidelines that would help in totally eliminating wastes in esteros and hasten Manila Bay’s rehabilitation.

This is ahead of DENR’s plan to simultaneously clean up more than 200 esteros in Metro Manila on March 31 in a bid to achieve the goal of bringing down the coliform level in all esteros to 100 most probable number (MPN) per 100 milliliters (mL).

The clean-up drive will cover Manila Bay tributaries traversing Quezon City, Valenzuela, Caloocan, Malabon and Navotas in Metro Manila.

Cimatu also reminded local government units (LGU) and villages surrounding the bay of their responsibilities in ensuring that wastes are properly collected and segregated, as well as the improvement of water quality within their jurisdictions, as stated in DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2019-09 released on January 24, 2019.

“Hindi lang basta-basta pabayaan mo na lang iyong garbage truck, kukuha iyong garbage, aalis din. Kailangang ma-implement din natin na wala nang maiiwan. Otherwise ‘pag naalis iyon, nagkalat-kalat, dumarating sa esteros iyong mga garbage,” Cimatu said.

The reminder follows a report that only 30 percent of the total number of concerned villages complied with the order and existing Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

“From now on, manghuli kayo ng nagtatapon ng basura sa kanal, estero, ilog, dalampasigan. Obligasyon ng barangay iyan. Obligasyon ng barangay na linisin ang kani-kanilang pamayanan,” DILG Undersecretary Martin Diño urged.

In its circular, the DILG directed 178 LGUs and 5,714 villages inside the Manila Bay Watershed Area to “fulfill their roles and responsibilities pursuant to environmental laws that contribute to the rehabilitation of Manila Bay.”

The agency cited in the memorandum Section 20 of the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004, which provides that LGUs shall share the responsibility in the management and improvement of water quality within their jurisdictions.

Similarly, the Local Government Code states that villages are required to do basic services, which include, but not limited to services and facilities related to hygiene and sanitation, beautification and solid waste collection.

The DILG also said in the same memorandum that LGUs and villages must organize clean up drives in their localities, including coastal areas and inland water systems, while encouraging participation from different stakeholders.

In a separate Memorandum 2019-07, LGUs and villages are also expected to partake in the drive to renew Manila Bay by conducting weekly clean-up drives in their communities and leading the eco-waste management in their respective areas.

The agency warned that failure to comply with the order may mete out administrative charges and suspension or dismissal from government service.

“Bakit hindi sila nag-conduct ng clean up sa utos ni (DILG) Sec. (Eduardo) Año or else magpa-file kami ng kaso sa Ombudsman laban sa kanila,” Diño said.

The government kicked off the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program last January 27, 2019, which also includes the reforestation of mangrove areas in the Las Piñas-Parañaque critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Mai Bermudez)

DILG to ask LGUs to lift entry ban on pork products from Luzon

Marje Pelayo   •   October 15, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is set to issue a memorandum circular to encourage local government units (LGUs) to lift their respective bans on entry of pork products coming from Luzon.

The LGUs imposed their own measures to prohibit the entry of pork products in their area in protection against the further spread of African Swine Fever (ASF).

According to DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, the DA requested them to allow meat processors to transport their products provided that their products are properly documented, properly processed, and approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The Philippine Association of Meat Processors Incorporated (PAMPI) argued that so far, 56 provinces have existing import ban on pork and pork items from the Luzon region.

The group added that the meat processing industry would suffer P55-B loss in profit every year should the local governments not heed lifting the import ban.

PAMPI assured that its products are safe for public consumption, therefore, they are confident that they will not cause the spread of the ASF virus. – MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

DENR to check rivers for coliform content amid polio outbreak

Marje Pelayo   •   September 25, 2019

Filipino residents cross a hanging bridge along the polluted water of Pasig river in Manila, Philippines, 31 May 2018 (issued on 04 June 2018). EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will conduct testing of water samples from all rivers across the country amid the ongoing outbreak of poliovirus.

The test is to determine the quality of and coliform content in the country’s bodies of water after water samples from the sewerage system in Tondo, Manila and Davao city tested positive of poliovirus.

According to DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has ordered all its regional offices to submit the results as soon as possible.

“Hahanapin namin ang mga pipes na nagtatapon sa mga rivers para masiguro natin na hindi na madagdagan pa ang polusyon ng river (We will trace the pipes that discharge directly into the rivers to make sure that pollution level in our rivers will not escalate),” Antiporda said. – MNP (with details from Grace Casin)

Deer head seized at Manila Port, handed over to DENR

Marje Pelayo   •   September 25, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) turned over on Tuesday (September 24) to the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) a piece of deer head smuggled into the Philippines without the necessary import permit.

The BOC said the deer head was discovered inside a parcel declared as household goods and personal effects that arrived at the Manila International Container Port on July 12, 2019 from Guam.

The subject good was seized for violation of Sections 11 and 27 of Republic Act No. 9147 otherwise known as Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, and Section 117 in relation to Section 1113 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

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