MANILA- Beware of littering.
At least 30 anti-littering enforcers were tasked to patrol the Manila Bay to watch out for litterbugs, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Manila Bay Cleanup Operations Head Alfredo Andres said Monday.
Andres said the enforcers would ensure that the bay's stretch would remain free from trash, following its massive cleanup.
Since Jan. 29 until Monday, Feb. 4, the MMDA had already accosted a total of 17 litterbugs.
Authorities warned that those caught littering would be fined P500 or would have to render community service.
The new policy was announced amid the government's push to rehabilitate the world-famous sunset viewing site. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is rehabilitating the capital's main harbor using an expected P47-billion revenue from the road users' tax.
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.
Results of a water sampling in the area showed that Manila Bay's average fecal coliform level was at 330 million most probable number (mpn), 3.3 million times above the standard 100 mpn that is ideal for swimming.
RECLAMATION AND FUNDING
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier said any reclamation project “would generate income [for] the government.”
Leftist lawmakers raised concerns that the Manila Bay rehabilitation might be a prelude for reclamation projects in the bay.
A consortium of Dennis Uy, a Davao-based businessman who maintains close ties with President Rodrigo Duterte, has a P62-billion reclamation project in Pasay City. Other big business groups have separate reclamation proposals.
On Monday, Palace said Duterte has signed an executive order transferring the power to approve reclamation projects to the Office of the President.
Duterte signed on Feb. 1 EO No. 74 transferring the Philippine Reclamation Authority to the OP.
-report from Henry Atuelan, ABS-CBN News