DENR, Parañaque, private sector to rehab Manila Bay

<p><strong>FUN AT THE BAY.</strong> Children play at the water's edge in a portion of Manila Bay in this undated photo. Government efforts to clean the bay continue with the help of local government units and the private sector. <em>(File photo)</em></p>

FUN AT THE BAY. Children play at the water's edge in a portion of Manila Bay in this undated photo. Government efforts to clean the bay continue with the help of local government units and the private sector. (File photo)

MANILA – Efforts to fast track the rehabilitation of the southern part of Manila Bay are now underway following the sealing of a partnership between the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Parañaque City.

The stakeholders include Aseana City’s business establishments and lot owners, who will endeavor to clean up the bay’s tributaries.

As part of its commitment under the DENR’s Adopt-a-Waterbody or Adopt-an-Estero Program, the Aseana City - through its Aseana Business Park Estate Association (ABPEA) - has been leading dredging activities along the Redemptorist Water Channel in Parañaque City.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) provided the dredging equipment for the activity that started in April.

DENR Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna welcomed the dredging efforts showing continuous environmental cooperation with Aseana City and the city government of Parañaque.

“Such partnerships highlight the importance of our partnership with the private sector and local government unit (LGU) in the realization and success of our programs, especially a priority program such as the Manila Bay Rehabilitation,” Sampulna said in a statement on Tuesday.

Aseana City is a 107-hectare business district in a reclaimed area that hosts several establishments, such as the Ayala Malls Manila Bay, City of Dreams, and the Passport Center of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Aseana City, through ABPEA - the official organization of locators or lot owners in Aseana City - adopted the 1,404-meter stretch of the Redemptorist Water Channel in June 2013 in response to the government’s call for assistance from the private sector to improve the state of waterways across the country.

The artificial channel, which spans Barangays Baclaran and Tambo in Parañaque City, was created to ease flooding, particularly in reclaimed areas.

Assistant Secretary Gilbert Gonzales, who supervises the DENR’s Metropolitan Environmental Offices or MEOs, said the channel was considered a priority waterway in the area since it is a tributary of Manila Bay.

“Cleanup and dredging the Redemptorist Water Channel would not only improve the quality of the water, but also reduce, if not prevent, flooding in the area and in surrounding communities especially when rains come,” he said.

Aside from the dredging, the ABPEA has been working towards having more establishments within its complex join the government’s Adopt-a-Waterbody program to improve water quality in the tributaries of Manila Bay and speed up its rehabilitation.

Under the program, adopters commit to starting coordination with other sectors, the community, and other government agencies in conducting cleanup activities and putting up interventions to improve water quality in the adopted water body.

With Aseana City, interventions have included providing boats and setting up steel floaters and biofences as aid in collecting trash trapped in waterways, to complement the cleanups by its environmental and security personnel.

Its efforts in the Channel have paid off, as the DENR observed a significant decrease in annual fecal coliform levels from 716 million in 2017 to 132 million most probable number per 100 milliliters (mpN/100mL) in 2021.

It was further down to 54,000 in the first quarter of 2022.

The developer has also been coordinating with the DENR’s Metropolitan Environmental Office (MEO)-South for other areas of collaboration within Parañaque City.

In one of their meetings, which was also attended by the LGU, over 50 pollution control officers (PCOs) of different locator establishments within the business park were able to clarify requirements and policies related to wastewater discharge and compliance with environmental laws.

The Adopt-a-Waterbody Program was also presented to the PCOs. (PR)