MANILA -- The environment department is advocating the inclusion of more Manila Bay-saving activities in the respective corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs of private companies.

The magnitude of environmental degradation in Manila Bay makes CSR activities necessary as the government lacks resources to rehabilitate it on its own, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary Jonas Leones said on Monday.

"We're encouraging the private sector to help," Leones said, noting that these companies have funds, equipment and other resources they could use to help rehabilitate Manila Bay.

The government is rehabilitating Manila Bay to improve its water quality by lowering its coliform bacteria levels to again make the bay fit for swimming and other recreational activities.

The rehabilitation plan's main activities are cleaning up Manila Bay and its tributaries, relocating informal settlers there, and educating the public on waste management.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu earlier said conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) already offered to help clean up the Tullahan River, one of Manila Bay's tributaries.

SMC and the DENR are discussing the cleanup, Leones said, adding that the DENR will conduct similar discussions with other companies that that would signify interest in helping save Manila Bay.

The discussions aim to ensure the companies' proposed activities for Manila Bay are aligned with the government’s rehabilitation plan for the bay, he said. (PNA)