Swim ban lifted at area of ‘poop’ incident in Boracay

Marje Pelayo   •   August 16, 2019   •   1613

After tests declared the water safe from coliform, authorities removed the cordon from the area where a foreign tourist was seen burying a soiled diaper in the sand. | Courtesy” DENR

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has lifted the swimming ban on Section 1 of Boracay Island after being closed for some time due to a defecation incident involving foreign tourists.

The Department declared on Thursday (August 15) that water quality at the incident site is already safe from coliform content.  

Based on the result of the water quality test conducted on Wednesday (August 14), the coliform content in the area is now at 1 most probable number (MPN) per 100 milliliters (ml).

This is way below the normal level of at least 100 MPN / 100ml of water which is the standard to consider that the water is safe for swimming.

Thus, Secretary Cimatu ordered to remove the cordon and signage of the swimming ban that were installed 100 meters along the beach front of Section 1.

Meanwhile, Malacañang condemns the actions of the Chinese tourists and according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, they should be held liable for violating environmental laws in the island.

“It’s a violation. We are not happy about that,” Panelo said.

“We’re supposed to be cleaning it up. Pagkatapos (Then) some people are messing It up. Hindi maganda. (That’s unfavorable) Whether filipino yun, o tourist, it’s offensive to the sight. It’s not a good scene,” he added.

Panelo calls on foreign tourists to abide by the law whenever they are in the country.

Meanwhile, the Boracay management was quick to provide portable restrooms for tourists following the incident.

Boracay authorities are planning to review local ordinances to make sure they still fit to the current situation in the tourist island.  – MNP (with details from Vincent Arboleda)

DENR discovers four culverts draining untreated water directly into Manila Bay

Marje Pelayo   •   January 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — A culvert or drainage pipe was discovered hidden behind boulders at station 640 along Manila Bay’s baywalk area on Roxas Boulevard was found to be discharging untreated wastewater directly into the bay.

Based on water analysis, fecal coliform count in the area was significantly high at 50 million most probable number per 100 milliliters.

After further inspection, three more alleged culverts along the baywalk were discovered. 

Pipes were found beside the Remedios drainage outfall across Aristocrat restaurant, Station 240 beside the Padre Faura outfall, and near the Estero San Antonio de Abad outfall.

“Ang lakas ng tubig. Bumubulwak (Water pressure was really strong),” said Environment Undersecretary Jonas Leones.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has ordered the immediate plugging of the illegal outfalls, the establishment of engineering interventions, and the strict enforcement of environmental laws in the bay.

“Noong tine-trace na namin yung existing pipes ng DPWH, ng MMDA at saka ng local government units, itong na-discover namin na illegal pipe wala doon sa records nila,” Leones noted.

(When we were tracing the origin of the existing pipes of the DPWH, the MMDA, and the local government units, none of these illegal pipes were in their records.)

“So the Secretary (Cimatu) has decided na i-seal na namin yung mga illegal pipes and mga culverts. And then let’s see kung saan lalabas yung mga tubig na yan na suppose to be doon lumalabas sa illegal pipes na na-identify na namin,” he added.

(So the Secretary has decided to seal those illegal pipes and culverts and then let’s see where the water would go out aside from the illegal pipes that we have identified.)

Leones said that before they traced the illegal pipes, the coliform level in Manila Bay has already improved from billions of micrograms per normal cubic meters to only thousands.

It just needs to be improved to 100mpn for it to be safe for swimming. -MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Wildlife conservation must continue amid pandemic —DENR

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has reiterated the need to continue wildlife conservation even amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

This was after a nesting sea turtle was sighted in Zambales province. DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu also reported several sightings of nesting sea turtles were in other areas.

“Even if we are faced with a difficult situation brought about by the threats of the disease, we must continue to strive to protect and preserve our endangered pawikan,” he said.

He added that the sightings prove that the efforts of conserving wildlife was not in vain.

The DENR’s Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) in Olongapo City also received a report that sea turtles laying eggs were spotted at a beach resort in San Antonio town.

The DENR said they will monitor the situation of these nests to protect them from poachers and illegal wildlife traders.  AAC

DENR eyes restoring original width of Marikina River to reduce flood risk

Marje Pelayo   •   November 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said Marikina River must be widened to reduce flood risk.

During a recent visit to Marikina City, Cimatu recommended the widening of Marikina River to increase its flood carrying capacity.

The recommendation comes after Marikina City and nearby areas were submerged in flood waters during the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses.

The environment chief noticed that the river channel was narrow, prompting him to call for strict imposition of easement requirements pertaining to rivers.

Presidential Decree 1067, also known as the Philippine Water Code, requires riverbank easement of three meters in urban areas.

As part of the planned rehabilitation, Cimatu said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will evaluate the changes in the width of Marikina River based on the data from the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NMRIA).

“We will look into the old river and how the river became narrower through the years,” Cimatu said. 

“We will restore the original width of the Marikina River,” he added.

At the same time, Cimatu said the DENR will look into the complaint of the Marikina City government over the alleged reclamation project along the river, which has not secured an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) from the environment department.

“Definitely, there should be no reclamation. I will really implement the easement law,” he said.

Cimatu said he has directed the DENR-National Capital Region office to look into the non-issuance of ECC, the reclamation, and the retaining wall built along the riverbanks.

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