THE waters of Manila Bay already have a high level of 330-million most probable number of coliform despite a mandamus issued by the Supreme Court 10 years ago directing 13 government agencies including the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to rehabilitate the bay.
This was disclosed yesterday in a press conference by DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu which he described it as an “alarming level” and vowed to reduce this to an ideal level of less 100 most probable number of coliform.
Cimatu expressed optimism that they can duplicate the success of the Boracay rehabilitation in their plans of massive rehabilitation of Manila Bay through a strong political will.
“I accept the challenge in rehabilitating the Manila Bay. This is really our mandate and nobody else who will do it,” Cimatu stressed.
“I am very optimistic that it will be done. In fact, we are already lining up the courses of action what must done to save Manila Bay,” Cimatu added.
He also disclosed that the main culprit in the massive increase of coliform level of the waters in the Manila Bay are the four esteros in Manila particularly those near the Manila Yatch Club in Roxas Boulevard.
Cimatu added that local government units concerned must strictly comply with their mandate of not allowing informal settlers to live near the esteros.
“They (LGUs) should have political will to prevent these informal settlers from inhabiting esteros or along esteros. Dapat matigil na ito so that we can achieve our goal of cleaning the Manila Bay. Kailangan natin magsimula sa mga estero dahil ito ang pangunahing dahilan kung bakit dumumi nang husto ang Manila Bay,” Cimatu added.
He disclosed that when the SC mandamus was issued, the level of coliform at the Manila Bay was recorded at more than 200,000 most probable number of coliform.
“So little progress was done after the SC mandamus was issued, so it is high time to start planning in rehabitating the bay. So I hope all of you will join us in this endeavor that will save Manila Bay for future generations,” Cimatu said.
He added that by the middle of January next year, a consultative meeting with the concerned agencies will be held to present to them the problem and the possible solutions that can be done.
The other agencies mandated to rehabilitate the Manila Bay are the Departments of Agriculture (DA), Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Education (DepEd), Health (DOH) and Budget and Management (DBM), the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Philippine National Police-Maritime Group (PNP-MG), and Philippine Ports Authority (PPA). The SC ordered these agencies to “clean up, rehabilitate, and preserve Manila Bay, and restore and maintain its waters to SB level to make them fit for swimming, skin diving, and other forms of contact recreation.”