Top PH companies offer help in Manila Bay cleanup
FORT DEL PILAR, Baguio City — Businesses led by the country’s biggest shopping mall chain have offered to adopt and clean Metro Manila rivers, which was part of the government’s effort to clean Manila Bay and other waterways, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said here on Saturday.
The task was mandated by the Supreme Court in 2008, Cimatu said.
Mall giant SM, Cimatu said, would adopt Parañaque River and take care of its rehabilitation.
Beverage giant San Miguel Corp. (SMC) wants to take care of the 15-kilometer Tullahan River located north of Manila, according to Cimatu, after addressing alumni of the Philippine Military Academy at their homecoming here.
Work has begun to clear three drain channels that empty into Manila Bay, he said, and experts hoped to retain and regulate only the channel at Manila Yacht Club on Roxas Boulevard.
But while work crews address the Manila Bay cleanup, “our businesses there volunteered to adopt the rivers,” Cimatu said.
The companies will pay for the cleanup of rivers that have so much garbage that small boats can no longer use these, he said, adding that these rivers were also the sources of Metro Manila flooding.
“The hardest to clean is the Tullahan River which is very low and very dirty,” Cimatu said.
He said a river in Navotas City would be adopted by business titan Lucio Tan.
The Marikina River, he added, would be adopted by Andrew Tan of Megaworld Corp.
He said companies, like SMC, that have factories along some of these rivers had been complying with pollution control standards.
“We will make sure all rivers will be cleaned and dredged,” he said.
“All esteros will be cleaned, and all informal settlers, who can’t be relocated, will be provided sewage system,” he added.
In his speech at the homecoming, Cimatu said he was better prepared to handle the Manila Bay cleanup after his experience in rehabilitating Boracay Island in Aklan province.
When President Duterte ordered the Boracay cleanup, Cimatu said he readily “accepted the task, not realizing the full scope and resources it would need to fix the most popular beach destination in the country.”
Boracay was closed in April last year amid a public outcry and was opened six months later. Cimatu said the rehabilitation was still ongoing, although the island had started receiving guests.
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