Photo courtesy of the City Government of Davao.

DAVAO CITY – This city has earned the Local Champion for Marine Litter Action Award for pioneering the country’s program against marine waste.

In a statement Tuesday, Ancillary Services Unit (ASU) officer-in-charge Paul Bermejo said the city won the award for having implemented a localized Philippine action plan for marine litter among other local government units in the country.

Bermejo said the award was presented by the UN Habitat of the Philippines, in partnership with the League of Cities of the Philippines, during the World Cities Day Celebration held on Oct. 28 in Quezon City.

"We attributed the citation to the city's Bantay Dagat program, which began in 2017 during the administration of former Mayor Inday Sara Duterte and was continued to this day by Mayor Sebastian "Baste" Duterte," he said.

Bermejo cited Executive Order (EO) No. 41, series of 2017, that mandates Bantay Dagat volunteers to conduct coastal and riverbank cleanup every first and third Saturday morning of the month.

Some 350 Bantay Dagat volunteers dutifully hold cleanup activities every Saturday morning in seven riverbanks and 26 coastal barangays here.

"Even though the UN Habitat's Save the Oceans and Rivers has not been organized yet, we already have a program to clean our coastline," Bermejo said.

Bermejo invited other non-government organizations and other representatives from establishments or institutions wanting to participate in the weekly cleanup drive. (PNA)