Saving Manila Bay

Published November 25, 2018, 9:08 AM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor


For years, Robert “Bobby” Lim Joseph has been sailing with the tide of life. He wears several hats as a husband, father, diplomat, author, educator, civic leader, hotel developer, and motivational speaker, among others—all of these while battling cancer. He loves to travel and is a very passionate environmentalist—which is why when he became the Commodore of the Manila Yacht Club for its 91st year, his primary advocacy was to help clean Manila Bay all throughout his two-year term.

“We want Manila to have a proper sewage treatment plan so that the water that will come out to the bay will be clean, and after so many years, we will have a clear Manila Bay. This bay can still be saved and it’s about time that the Manila Yacht Club focuses on this gargantuan problem that affects the e-commerce and tourism of the country,” says Joseph.

Bobby had his formal turnover last Nov. 17 during the “Opening Day Ceremonies and Sail Pass for 2018-2019” of the Manila Yacht Club with Senate President Vicente Sotto III as the guest of honor.

Rear Commodore Ildefonso T. Tronqued turns over the Commodore's flag to the new Commodore Robert L. Joseph
Rear Commodore Ildefonso T. Tronqued turns over the Commodore’s flag to the new Commodore Robert L. Joseph

The Philippines has several existing environmental laws which include Republic Act 9003 Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, Republic Act 8749 Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999, Republic Act 6969 Toxic Substances, Hazardous, and Nuclear Waste Control Act of 1990, Presidential Decree 1586 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Statement of 1978, and Republic Act 9275 Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004, among others.

Republic Act 9275 is designates the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as the lead agency which shall supervise and control over all aspects of water quality management. It also gave the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) the task of preparing a National Sewerage and Septage Management Program.

“Unlike the others, my approach would be through legal means. We have the best environmental laws in the world, we just have to implement it properly. So I will request a meeting with Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and other government agencies to discuss on how to implement the law all the way to the barangay level and at the same time teach them about environmental protection,” says Joseph.

Joseph also says that he also talked with Corregidor Foundation Inc. Chairman Cynthia Lagdameo-Carrion because some of the wastes from the bay reach the island.

“It’s a domino effect. The trash even goes all the way to Corregidor and Batangas. We’re doing this because we want to put the Philippines in the map of the elite, the very rich and famous, because with that, people will come here and invest. We are all stakeholders here,” he says. “We will also write a letter and appeal to the President to create homes for people living in esteros in Parañaque and Cavite so the investors can build something in those places and with that, we can raise funds for the poor. It will be a step by step process. That’s why it’s very important to talk to the right people and Senate President Sotto says he is all for it,” he says.

Meanwhile, Sotto commended the club for placing the Philippines on the global yachting map.

“I have no doubt the members who have graced your boats are among the most esteemed and respected in their own fields, making this such a prestigious circle. When in these premises and the seas, however, they all become ordinary souls wanting good, old fun. And this fun you find in the freedom that sailing provides,” says Sotto during his speech.

Present also during the event were Joseph’s wife Ida Manalo Joseph, Vice Commodore Armando T. de Rossi and wife Lilibeth de Rossi, Rear-Commodore Ildefonso Marco T. Tronqued, Vice-Admiral Fred Villanueva, and Joey Talion.

Manila Yacht Club is a members-only yacht club based in Manila. It was established in 1927 and is one of the oldest clubs in Asia.