By Chito Chavez
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) ordered 178 local government units (LGU) covered by the Manila Bay Watershed area to revoke the business permits of firms found to be violating environmental laws.
DILG Undersecretary and spokesman Jonathan Malaya said the massive abuse committed on the Manila Bay area would necessitate the full cooperation of the concerned government agencies, LGU, and the public to fully rehabilitate it.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año earlier issued a memorandum directing all mayors of local government units (LGUs) in the National Capital Region (NCR), Central Luzon, and Calabarzon to ensure that all establishments in their areas are compliant with the pertinent provisions of the National Building Code, the Fire Code, the Code on Sanitation, and other related laws, regulations, and policies.
With the directive, Malaya said all LGUs should act with dispatch on the enforcement of orders from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), and other government agencies in line with the continuous effort to clean up, rehabilitate, and preserve the Manila Bay watershed area.
He added that Año’s memorandum stated that “all LGUs should revoke or cancel permits of establishments found to have committed violations and/or are non-compliant with environmental and other applicable laws.”
“The DENR and LLDA have started the inspection of commercial establishments last January 27, 2019, to ensure their compliance with environmental laws. They have issued Cease and Desist Orders and Notices of Violations to various establishments. All concerned LGUs should immediately act on the findings of the DENR and LLDA and revoke or suspend the business permits they have issued, as may be applicable,” Malaya said.
He said that a business or mayor’s permit is not a right but a privilege granted by the State.
“The Supreme Court has ruled that a business permit is subject to the regulation of the State and may therefore be revoked or withdrawn if there is cause to do so,” he added.
“Let us sustain the momentum of cleaning up Manila Bay. The DILG is committed to doing our role in the inter-agency Manila Bay Task Force which includes supervision of LGUs whether or not they are judiciously inspecting all establishments in their respective areas,” Malaya noted.
To ensure the implementation of these laws, Año further instructed the DILG Regional Directors of NCR, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon to report to him through the DILG’s Bureau of Local Government Supervision (BLGS) LGUs and local chief executives (LCEs) who fail to abide by this directive.
In a separate memorandum dated January 24, Año directed 178 LGUs and 5,714 barangays inside the Manila Bay Watershed Area to contribute to the rehabilitation of the polluted bay by organizing weekly clean-up drives in their localities such as, but not limited to coastal areas and/or inland water systems, beginning January 27—the start of the rehabilitation of the Manila Bay.
The DILG is closely monitoring all barangays and will call the attention of those that do not contribute to the clean-up effort.