MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday told establishments along the Manila Bay to properly observe environmental rules or face closure, as the government seeks to rehabilitate the heavily polluted body of water.
Duterte said he has told Interior Secretary Eduardo Año and Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to take charge of the rehabilitation efforts.
He then warned hotels and other establishments facing the Manila Bay, one of the country’s most famous sunset spots, to observe cleanliness.
“Whether they like it or not, lahat itong, itong mga hotel, ‘yung palabas niyong mga tae ng mga turista… lagyan niyo ng water treatment kung hindi pasarahan ko iyan,” Duterte said in a speech during the Barangay Summit on Peace Process in Pasay City.
(Whether they like it or not, all these hotels, the waste discharge from tourists... put water treatment there or else I will shut them down.)
“Kung wala tayong turista eh di wala (If we don’t get tourists then so be it)… You do something about your waste there, otherwise we will close it.”
Garbage from nearby provinces like Cavite and Laguna are often blamed for the sorry state of the bay. In the wake of storms, trash usually pile up on the breakwater and even further inland into Roxas Boulevard.
The government is eyeing the use of revenue from the road user’s tax to fund the rehabilitation of Manila Bay, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Tuesday.
To allow this, the Road Board will have to be abolished and its collections returned to the Treasury, he added.
Some P47 billion will be needed to clean up Manila Bay, said Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary Benny Antiporda.
The rehabilitation will require the relocation of thousands of illegal settlers, whose household waste contribute to 70 percent of pollution in the area, DENR Spokesperson Jonas Leones earlier said.
The Pasig River and Laguna Lake, which both flow into Manila Bay, will also have to be cleaned up, he said.