DILG steps up efforts to clean-up Manila Bay

By on January 13, 2016

Roxas Boulevard Baywalk in Manila (Wikipedia photo)
Roxas Boulevard Baywalk in Manila (Wikipedia photo)

MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is succeeding in its efforts to implement the Manila Bay Clean-Up, Rehabilitation and Preservation (MBCRP) program which hopes to restore the bay’s pristine state.

DILG Secretary Mel Senen S. Sarmiento said the DILG is undertaking initiatives to ensure greater compliance among local government units (LGUs) along Manila Bay to environmental laws, rules and regulations, particularly in the conduct of inspection and monitoring of establishments having hygienic septic and wastewater treatment facilities.

“Hindi nagpapabaya ang DILG katuwang ang ibang ahensya ng pamahalaan at mga LGUs sa kanyang tungkulin na pagandahin at ibalik ang dating kagandahan at kalinisan ng Manila Bay,” said Sarmiento.

The DILG Secretary pointed out, however, that “the DILG is not the lead agency implementing the MBCRP program, there are 12 other national government agencies mandated by the Supreme Court Order to enact initiatives preventing the continuous cycle of man-made pollution to restore the Manila Bay to its pristine form, fit for swimming and other forms of contact recreation.”

Since the Department is vested with supervisory powers over LGUs, Sarmiento said other agencies rely on the DILG to coordinate all LGU actions and efforts of NGAs to comply with the mandamus of the Supreme Court.

“The Department’s role is centered on capacity development, coordination with LGUs and NGAs, and monitoring of the performance of the LGUs, hence most of the activities of the Department are workshops, seminars and various coordination meetings,” he said.

As of 2015, all 178 LGUs mandated under the court are conducting inspection, where 53,266 commercial establishments (CEs), 2,357 factories and 391,058 private homes were inspected for adequate wastewater treatment facilities or septic tanks.

Of the total number of inspected structures, there were 21,895 CEs, 1,816 factories, and 171,644 private homes that have proper wastewater treatment facilities/septic tanks after the Department issued advisories to all concerned LGUs to issue compliance notices to non-complying structures.

Also, a sample Septage Ordinance and Checklist was drafted and disseminated to the Manila Bay LGUs via memorandum issued by the DILG, containing clear guidelines on proper sewage treatment and septage management. Said memorandum circular encourages them to adopt their own septage ordinance. It is likewise indicated in the sample Septage Ordinance that any establishment not complying therein shall not be issued with a business permit. At present, 28 LGUs have already adopted their septage and sewerage ordinance.

On the other hand, the number of LGUs with a 10-year Solid Waste Management Plan rose from 2 in 2011 to 21 in 2015; 74 LGUs are performing segregation at source and segregated collection; and 102 are being serviced by a materials recovery facility.

At the same time, all 178 LGUs were provided assistance in the implementation of the Waste Analysis and Characterization Study (WACS), the results of which can be used to determine waste projections for the next 20 years, which can affect the development of adequate waste collection and disposal systems, as well as Materials Recovery and Composting facilities.