Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary Benny Antiporda has given an ominous warning against local government units (LGUs) that indirectly pollute the waters of Manila Bay.
“[We will] tightly and closely monitor the solid waste management operations of all [LGUs] especially those that pollute waterways that flow to Manila Bay,” Antiporda, the undersecretary for solid waste management and LGU concerns, said in a statement Monday, Aug. 9.
According to him, all LGUs should have “an honest-to-goodness residual waste disposal system or face the penalties imposed by Republic Act (RA) 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.”
Section 37 of RA 9003 “prohibits the use of open dumpsites for solid waste,” he said.
There have been longstanding concerns over how tributaries in different LGUs have been carrying garbage into Manila Bay. This primarily results from poor waste disposal mechanisms in cities or towns surrounding the bay, or simply from negligence.
“Kaya ang mga LGUs, wag silang magpaka-kampante sa mga nakasanayan na nila (The LGUs must not be complacent over what they have grown accustomed to). We have our eyes, ears and nose on you,” Antiporda said.
The DENR under the current Duterte administration hasn’t shied away from charging local officials for violations of the 20-year-old RA 9003, it should be noted.
“Hopefully, more Filipinos will realize that we at the DENR are promoting behavioral change and responsibility because the national government through the DENR cannot do this alone,” the undersecretary said.
Last January, the department headed by Secretary Roy Cimatu created the Manila Bay Anti-Pollution Task Force (MBAPTF) via Special Order (SO) No.2021-17. Cimatu installed Antiporda as task force head.