A NOT SO MAKABAYAN BLOCKING MANILA BAY REHAB
Since the full force move of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and other government agencies to rehabilitate Manila Bay, the aquatic scenery is now being tracked and its natural corruption and negligence by the Manila constituents and visitors as a critical issue citing various claims.
The members of the House Makabayan opposition bloc called the DENR to suspend the Manila Bay rehabilitation “until a comprehensive and holistic study on the socio-economic impact on affected marginalized sectors has been diligently carried out.”
Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, ACT Teachers Reps. Antonio Tinio and France Castro, Gabriela Reps. Emmi de Jesus and Arlene Brosas, and Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago filed House Resolution No. 2452 on Tuesday stressing the necessity to study the impact of the Manila Bay rehabilitation on the livelihood of the poor.
The comprehensive plan or masterplan for the rehabilitation should also be publicized, according to Makabayan bloc.
They added that the government should also hold public consultations among affected marginalized sectors.
The legislators underscored the need to “draft a genuine and democratic program that will sincerely rehabilitate Manila Bay without infringing on the basic rights to livelihood and adequate standard of living of marginalized sectors.”
Casilao led the filing together with fisherfolk and peasant women.
No reclamation after rehabilitation
The DILG stressed that the rehabilitation of the Manila Bay cannot be postponed following the call of the lower house’s Makabayan bloc to suspend the program.
In a statement Wednesday, DILG Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya said the rehabilitation of Manila Bay cannot be postponed because the aquatic body itself is already in critical condition.
“Actually, the bay is in ICU (intensive care unit). We cannot afford an additional day of delay. Giving in to Makabayan will only make matters much worse,” he said.
Malaya, who is also the agency’s spokesperson, even accused the members of the Makabayan bloc of politicizing the issue to allegedly gain votes ahead of the mid-term elections in May.
“Instead of asking for a postponement, the Makabayan bloc should instead do their part in helping the government fight the ‘Battle of Manila Bay.’ The administration has exercised the political will to do what is right. Now it’s our turn to do our part,” he said.
In filing the resolution, the lawmakers claimed that the rehabilitation program could be a “prelude to 43 reclamation projects covering more than 32,000 hectares in the bay under the Build, Build, Build program.”
But Malaya denied the claim of the Makabayan bloc members.
“Again, this is clearly misinformation. There is no place for reclamation in the rehabilitation program. In fact, Secretary [Eduardo] Año is personally opposed to reclamation projects,” he said.
The rehabilitation of the polluted waterway became the government’s “next big target” after the rehabilitation of Boracay.
The planned rehabilitation of Manila Bay would run in three phases: the clean-up and water quality improvement, rehabilitation, and protection and sustainability.
Last Sunday, three business establishments had already been ceased in their operation. While DENR also executed the same to other establishments in provinces where the Manila Bay stretches out, citing their negligence in contaminating and polluting the once was beautiful bay.
Photo from When In Manila