MANILA -- The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is set to issue a show cause order against 1,000 of the 5,714 barangays for defying orders to strictly enforce environmental laws in their respective areas along the Manila Bay Watershed Area.
Citing Memorandum Order No. 2019-09, Undersecretary for Barangay Operations Martin Diño said the DILG department has directed 178 local government units and 5,714 barangays along the Manila Bay Watershed Area to conduct weekly clean-up drives in compliance with the order of President Rodrigo Duterte.
He said the figure is only the initial batch of erring barangays from Central Luzon, Calabarzon and the National Capital Region.
Diño lashed out at the village chiefs who failed to submit the required weekly reports as directed by the DILG as he also presented to the media bulk of evidence against them.
“Around 1,000 of the 5,714 barangays remain to be indifferent to our cause, making a complete mockery of our overall campaign by continuously disregarding these high-level orders for rehabilitation of the bay. It's about time (we teach) these negligent officials get a lesson for not complying with and enforcing applicable and environmental laws and policies pursuant to the law,” Diño told reporters in a press conference Tuesday.
In a serious bid to rehabilitate Manila Bay Watershed Area, Diño said that cases will be filed against the erring barangay chairman before the Office of the Ombudsman if they fail to justify their non-compliance with the DILG order.
“Kailangan natin ang matino, mahusay, maaasahang mga barangay upang tunay na magpatupad ng batas sa kanilang nasasakupan hinggil sa rehabilitation ng (We need barangays who are compliant in enforcing the law within their areas of jurisdiction with regards to the rehabilitation of) Manila Bay. Patuloy kong hinihikayat ang ating mga punong barangay na makiisa at lalo pang gampanan ang kanilang tungkulin (I continue to urge our village chiefs to join this campaign and perform their duty) as mandated by the law,” he stressed.
With more than 5,000 barangay chairmen covered by the Manila Bay area, Diño said more than half a million volunteers may be tapped to help clean the bay.
Diño added the DILG is routinely assessing the bid of the National Housing Authority in providing relocation sites to the informal settlers.
The DILG official said relocating informal settlers living along rivers, esteros and other tributaries connected to the Manila Bay is very important citing that this is one of the main sources of pollution in the bay area.
To quell claims that the poor are solely being targeted, Diño said that even polluting industrial firms and restaurants are being issued notices for their infractions.
In January 2019, the government launched Manila Bay’s rehabilitation to make this particular body of water fit for swimming and other forms of recreational activities again. (PNA)
Photo by Ali Vicoy/Tempo