CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – Four local government units (LGUs) and one provincial government office in Central Luzon have been cited for their significant efforts and contribution to the cleanup and rehabilitation of Manila Bay.

Recipients of the Manila BAYani award in the region are the city governments of Balanga, Bataan and Palayan, Nueva Ecija; municipalities of Sasmuan, Pampanga and Marilao, Bulacan; and the Environment and Natural Resources Office of Pampanga province.

The award recognized the LGUs, groups, and individuals that have shown exemplary and innovative strategies in the implementation of the Manila Bay cleanup and rehabilitation program.

Paquito Moreno Jr., regional executive director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), thanked their partner LGUs for their continued support in the Manila Bay rehabilitation program that led to the success of several initiatives in the region, such as daily cleanup drives, grubbing, trash trap installation, and establishment of toilet facilities.

“It is through our strategic partnership and collective efforts that we have been able to execute activities that brought significant contributions and progress in our rehabilitation efforts,” Moreno said in a statement on Thursday.

For her part, Palayan City Mayor Adrianne Mae Cuevas said, "Hangad natin ang maayos at malinis na kapaligiran hindi lamang sa Lungsod ng Palayan kundi maging sa ibang lugar kaya't sama samang nakikiisa ang mga mamamayan tungo sa magandang adhikain na ito (We desire to make our surroundings orderly and clean not only in the City of Palayan but also in other areas. That is why the residents join together towards this good objective)."

Pampanga Governor Dennis Pineda thanked the DENR and other agencies for recognizing the efforts of the provincial government in helping to revive Manila Bay.

"Ang Pampanga Bay at mga ilog nito na tumatapon sa Manila Bay ay inaalagaan natin dahil pinagkukunan ito ng pagkain, irigasyon at kabuhayan ng mga Kapampangan (We are protecting the Pampanga Bay and the rivers going to the Manila Bay because this is the source of food, irrigation and livelihood of the Kapampangan)," Pineda said.

Since the massive cleanup of the Manila Bay started in 2019, over 280,000 tons of waste have been collected from more than 37,000 river and coastal cleanups conducted in Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, and Tarlac. (PNA)