RECOGNIZING the importance that Manila Bay serves for Filipinos, Senator Cynthia A. Villar underscored the importance of a Sewerage Treatment Plan (STP) to help clean and save the bay.
This was in response to the plan of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to build the solar-powered Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) at Baywalk area in Malate, Manila.
The STP, which is capable of catching and treating 500,000 liters of wastewater per day from the drainage outfalls of Padre Faura, Remedios, and Estero de San Antonio Abad, was inaugurated last July 30 by DENR Secretary Frank Cimatu and MMDA Chair Gen. Danilo Lim.
DENR plans to install additional solar-powered STPs to handle wastewater from Parañaque River, Tullahan-Tinajeros River, and Las Piñas-Zapote River.
Villar, chair of the Senate Committed on Environment and Natural Resources (DENR),said this is a “welcome development” to improve the waters of Manila Bay.
“We should all do our part, not just whenever we can, but as much as we can. All over the world, many things are happening due to environmental destruction, degradation and neglect,” said Villar.
Also as chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture and Food, Villar said that many fishermen depend on Manila Bay for their livelihood. This is the source of fish supply for the National Capital Region (NCR), Camanava (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela) and some parts of Cavite and Bataan.
Manila Bay has 1.7 million hectares drainage area with 17 river systems draining into it. Villar made it her advocacy to work with local government units (LGUs) to maintain the cleanliness of rivers within their municipalities to contribute to Manila Bay’s protection and preservation
“Plastic wastes ang isa sa pinaka-malubhang nakakapinsala sa ating kapaligiran at pumapatay sa mga yamang dagat. Alam natin lahat iyan dahil sa lahat ng mga cleanups, puro plastic wastes ang nako-collect natin,” said the senator.
Villar noted that the Philippines is the third biggest source of plastic leaking into the oceans, after China at Indonesia.
Villar has been leading clean-up activities along the coastal areas of Manila Bay. Clean activities that the senator spearheaded include activities in Obando, Bulacan; Lubao, Pampanga; Orani, Bataan; Kawit, Cavite; Baseco and the Las Piñas Parañaque Wetland Park.
The senator also lauded the increasing number of Manila Bay protectors who have been vigilant. She said these are being led by the 13 so-called “mandamus agencies” directed by the Supreme Court through a writ of continuing mandamus to rehabilitate, restore and conserve Manila Bay.
The 13 Mandamus agencies are: DENR, DILG, DepEd, DOH, DA, DPWH, DBM, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Philippine National Police-Maritime Group (PNP-MG), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), MMDA, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA). Almost all of which are also part of the Manila Bay Task Force.