CHIEF Justice Diosdado Peralta yesterday said his recent visit to Manila Bay was part of the Supreme Court’s continuing mandamus to rehabilitate and protect the world-renowned tourist attraction.
Peralta issued the statement during his online press conference dubbed “Supreme Court: Rising Above the Pandemic. ”
The Manila Bay recently hogged the headlines over the overlaying of sand with crushed dolomite boulders along a portion of the picturesque bay.
“Meron pa kasing nagtatanong diyan bakit daw ako nandun. You know, that’s part of the continuing mandamus. I am now the designated officer-in-charge, member-in-charge.
Ako nag-inherit ng kaso. Ako lang naiwan doon sa original group. So that’s part of the monitoring system if they are following yung continuing mandamus. And they are supposed to report every quarter And that was October. But I could not visit the place during the first two quarters because of the pandemic. Still, I have to go there because that is part of my job,” Peralta said.
Peralta is the only remaining justice of the SC which came up with the directive in 2008 for the 13 government agencies to clean up, rehabilitate, and preserve the Manila Bay and restore and maintain its water to class SB level, which means that water is suitable for recreational activities such as swimming and skin diving.
“Those who decided the Manila Bay (MMDA vs. Concerned Residents of Manila Bay), most of them have retired. It is only yours truly who is still with the SC. Under Internal Rules of the SC, whoever is still with the Court, and who had participated in that decision will become the ponente or the person in-charge of the case. I am now in charge of the case,” he said.
The SC Manila Bay Advisory Committee is vice-chaired by SC Justice Rodil V. Zalameda, with Justice Edgardo L. Delos Santos, and Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez as members.
Last January 26, Peralta keynoted the first anniversary of the “Battle for Manila Bay, ” and underscored that the right to a clean environment is one of the highest rights afforded to every Filipino and that every generation has the duty to protect the environment.
Peralta also committed that the Court will not relent in ensuring the cleanup of Manila Bay through the SC Manila Bay Advisory Committee.
Earlier this month, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) pushed through with its plan of covering a 500-meter stretch of Manila Bay’s shoreline with dolomite sand—a move that drew both praise and criticism.
The P389-million project was part of the “beach nourishment program” being carried out by the DENR.
But environmentalists said the project passed over the public consultation phase and lacked the necessary environmental impact studies.
Lawmakers and public officials have called it a waste of resources that could have been diverted to supplement the country’s pandemic health response and provide gadgets for public school students grappling with online learning.