DUTERTE FORMS MANILA BAY TASK FORCE
MANILA — President Rodrigo R. Duterte has created a task force to speed up the rehabilitation of Manila Bay.
Duterte, through Administrative Order No. 16, created the task force to ensure “the complete rehabilitation, restoration, and conservation of the Manila Bay.”
The order was signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, by authority of the President, on February 19 but was released to the media only on Thursday.
“The convergence of national government agencies and LGUs (local government units) in the Manila Bay Region, and the active participation of private and public stakeholders, are necessary to facilitate the robust and integrated implementation of all rehabilitation and restoration efforts at the Manila Bay,” the order read.
The task force will be headed by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, with Interior Secretary Eduardo Año and Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat as vice chairpersons.
Members of the task force are the respective secretaries of the departments of public works, health, and agriculture, the respective chairpersons of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council and Metro Manila Development Authority, and the executive director of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission.
Other members are the Local Water Utilities Administration administrator, Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System administrator, Philippine National Police-Maritime Group director, Philippine Coast Guard commandant, Philippine Ports Authority general manager, Manila Water Company, Inc. representative, and Maynilad Water Services, Inc. representative.
The task force will require government facilities, hotels, hospitals, and buildings to connect existing sewerage lines to available sewerage systems or sewerage treatment plants.
It must also undertake remedial measures to improve the water quality of Manila Bay, such as sustained and targeted reduction in the coliform level in all major river systems and tributaries within the Manila Bay Region.
In collaboration with concerned agencies, the task force must also prepare for the implementation of a comprehensive plan for the massive relocation of Informal Settler Families and a comprehensive plan for expediting the local sanitation program of LGUs within the Manila Bay Region by 2026.
The task force must also undertake measures relative to violation of environmental laws, such as demolition, closure, or cessation of businesses and/or filing of administrative action against erring persons or establishments
It should also facilitate a massive info education driver to garner public support for the Manila Bay cleanup, in collaboration with the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, Presidential Communications Operations Office, LGUs, and other stakeholders.
The task force must submit a quarterly report to the Office of the President on the actions taken by the LGUs and recommendation on amendment of existing laws and issuances to respond to existing conditions.
The order takes effect immediately.