VILLAR GETS RECOGNITION FOR MANILA BAY ADVOCACY
MANILA --Senator Cynthia Villar's work in the clean-up and rehabilitation of Manila Bay was recognized Tuesday by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in a ceremony marking the 10th year anniversary of the issuance of a mandamus directing 13 government agencies to lead the rehabilitation of the bay.
Villar, chairperson of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, was recognized for "her unwavering support and relentless effort in championing the Manila Bay Rehabilitation cause."
The plaque, signed by DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu, was given by DENR Undersecretary Sherwin Rigor in the presence of representatives from the so-called mandamus agencies and DENR officials.
"Manila Bay is one big toilet kaya hindi malinis-linis (that's why it's difficult to clean)," Villar said after receiving the award.
She also noted the absence of waste water treatment facilities which largely contributed to the high coliform content of the waters of Manila Bay.
Villar also commended Cimatu for announcing the rehabilitation of Manila Bay starting 2019.
She said her two projects in Manila Bay can serve as models in cleaning the area; one is the Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park where she holds a monthly clean-up and tree planting activity.
She also pushed for the enactment of a law declaring the park as a protected area, effectively blocking plans for its reclamation.
The other project is in Baseco Compound in Manila. Through the Villar Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance in partnership with DOH, toilets were built for the residents. In partnership with DA and the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission, livelihood projects such as aquaculture and urban gardening were also built in the area.
In Dec. 18, 2008, the Supreme Court in G.R.No. 171947-48 ordered 13 government agencies --DENR, Department of Health, Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Bureau of Soil and Water Management, Department of Education, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Budget and Management, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, Local Water Utilities Administration, Metro Manila Development Authority, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine National Police- Maritime Group, and the Philippine Ports Authority-- to clean up, rehabilitate and preserve Manila Bay and restore and maintain its water to a level clean enough for swimming, skin diving and other forms of contact recreation.
Villar cited the work of environmental lawyer and Magsaysay awardee Antonio Oposa for filing the case that led to the SC landmark decision. (PR)
Photo by Miguel de Guzman/Philstar