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Tuesday, June 18, 2019
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Hidalgo: Clean up and rehab of Manila Bay

Citizen Fe

THE party-list "Luntiang Pilipinas" supported President Rodrigo Duterte's order for Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año to start the clean-up of the most heavily

polluted bodies of water in the country.

Senator Loren Legarda, founder of Luntiang Pilpinas and author of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, raised awareness on the massive degradation of Manila Bay. She noted that Manila Bay is one of Metro Manila's crowning glories boasting the "best view of the sunset in the country." This "best view" title is marred by truck loads of garbage, solid wastes, and pollutants, some even recovered from the bottom of the sea.

I remember one experience I had when I was a patient in the Philippine General Hospital. The setting sun over Manila Bay was a daily inspiration of mine. To remember this, I would video shoot it with my Kodak camera, we used to call this "phase photography." I did this patiently from stage one to the last shot where the sun is not visible in the horizon. I would show this video to my science class for my students to appreciate it, too.

Luntiang Pilipinas declared that it is time that we all make a stand against the pollution and degradation of Manila Bay. Let us take Manila Bay back and let us work together to have a healthy, sustainable and disaster-resilient future through initiating and supporting concerted clean-up efforts. Manila Bay is dying. Let us stop this catastrophe.

The President warned hotels along Manila Bay, particularly those that do not have waste water treatment plants, to comply with environmental standards or else they will be closed. Adding to this are the liquid wastes from households and the toxic industrial effluents discharged by factories and ships. About 1,500 tons of wastes are illegally dumped in the rivers and creeks, which carries these wastes to the bay. This problem should be resolved now before it is too late.

The program for the rehabilitation of Manila Bay started this year. The government and its partners are cleaning the bay from its highly polluted bottoms. It is heart-warming that all citizens do their share in cleaning the bay. Soon people will be able to swim in a cleaner bay.

However, there is a hidden agenda why businessmen are enthusiastic about this Bay Area. Luntiang Pilipinas we need your action to stop this hidden agenda. Some business companies are eager to reclaim the area and turn it into a highly commercial district. They plan to have tons of materials to make this area a full pledge commercial district by filling portions of the bay with materials to create artificial land. Horrible is the word. We oppose the reclamation of the Manila Bay and turn it into a commercial district.

Instead of commercializing why not practice the act of conserving? Manila Bay has outstanding land and water features that can be sustainably developed with proper planning. We can build playgrounds for children, have bike lanes, and have an eco-friendly recreational area. Let Manila Bay stay for posterity with its unequaled title of having the best sunset view.


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