MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has created a task force for the rehabilitation of heavily polluted Manila Bay, according to a document released by the Palace on Thursday.
Duterte signed on Feb. 19 Administrative Order No. 16 which designates the environment secretary as the chairperson of the task force and the interior and tourism secretaries as vice-chairpersons.
The task force members shall have the power to enforce the country’s sanitation code “to ensure the complete rehabilitation, restoration and conservation of the Manila Bay.”
It shall also require all structures and facilities around the bay, including households, “to immediately connect existing sewage lines to available sewerage treatment plants (STPs), or to construct individual STPs.”
The task force is also mandated to improve water quality in the bay by reducing the coliform level in all major river systems and tributaries within the Manila Bay region.
It is also directed to craft a comprehensive plan for “massive relocation” of informal settler families around the bay.
The task force shall also ensure that concerned local government units undertake appropriate measures against erring persons or establishments and improve resource management of the Manila and create models of inter-LGU cooperation in ecosystem management, “with special focus on the Laguna Lake and Pasig River.”
Meanwhile, the administrative order also mandates local chief executives in Metro Manila, Bataan, Pampanga, Bulacan, and Cavite to “ensure implementation of critical environmental laws… within their respective territorial jurisdictions.”
Several establishments have been given cease-and-desist orders for supposedly polluting the bay.
The Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) earlier this week slapped Max's Restaurant UN Orosa, HengFeng Kitchenette, Jollibee Macapagal Biopolis, Lamer Catering, and Nihon Bashitei Japanese Food with CDOs.
Other well-known bay area establishments to be slapped with CDOs include Aristocrat Restaurant, Gloria Maris Sharksfin, and The Esplanade San Miguel.
The rehabilitation plan was set after President Duterte warned establishments along the bay to comply with environment regulations or face closure. The government said some 40,000 families living near the bay were major contributors to pollution.