Anti-pollution task force jumpstarts Manila Bay rehab this year

Published February 5, 2021, 10:25 PM

by Betheena Unite

Coming into the second year of the “battle for Manila Bay,” a series of inspections will be carried out to identify and stop polluters to restore the  coastal and marine ecosystem of the bay.


Among the first steps this year is to examine the riverbanks of the Pasig River for illegal drainage pipes and to trace their source from the Laguna de Bay outlet in Napindan Channel all the way to Manila Bay.

The only outlet of Laguna de Bay is the Napindan Channel, which is connected to Manila Bay via the Pasig River.

During a recent discussion to develop a “comprehensive approach” to hasten the rehabilitation of Manila Bay, member organizations of the Manila Bay Anti-Pollution Task Force of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) were mobilized to perform inspections on the bay and its surroundings.

The Pasig River Coordinating and Management Office was directed to inspect the drainage pipes in Pasig River.

“Not all of the pipes that you find in the riverbanks or creeks are illegal. Some of those are storm drains,” DENR Undersecretary Benny D. Antiporda said.

“The main objective is to stop further pollution in the whole of the Manila Bay region. By hook or by crook, we will stop them (polluters).  We can defy these environmental issues,” Antiporda added.

The department’s Environmental Management Bureau was also directed to conduct water quality assessment to verify if the water discharge is from floodwater or effluent from residential, commercial, and industrial establishments.

The Manila Bay Coordinating Office, on the other hand, was tasked to check and monitor the water quality in port areas in coordination with the Philippine Ports Authority and Philippine Fisheries Development Authority.

Moreover, the River Basin Control Office will identify rivers where trash traps could be installed to prevent solid wastes from polluting waterways further downstream.

The task force was created by DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu on Jan. 6, 2021 to ensure the compliance of all government facilities and other establishments within the Manila Bay region to connect on existing sewerage systems or construct their individual sewerage plant to stop the pollution in Manila Bay. 

It is also tasked to develop remedial measures using engineering and technological interventions to address the bay’s current water quality, and strictly monitor the enforcement of Republic Act 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004.