Multi-agency task force created to speed up bay rehab
President Duterte has created a task force to coordinate and speed up the rehabilitation and restoration of Manila Bay’s coastal and marine ecosystem.
The Manila Bay Task Force, created through Administrative Order 16 signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Feb. 19, will implement engineering and technological interventions to reduce the coliform level in the bay and improve water quality.
It can also impose fines and penalties, as well as administrative sanctions, on those who fail to comply with environmental laws.
The secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will be the chair of the task force, with the secretaries of the local government and tourism departments as vice-chairpersons.
Task force members
The other members of the task force are the secretaries of the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Health and Department of Agriculture; as well as the chiefs of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.
Also part of the task force are the executive director of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission; administrators of the Local Water Utilities Administration and Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System; the director of the Philippine National Police’s Maritime Group; the commandant of the Philippine Coast Guard; the general manager of the Philippine Ports Authority; and representatives of Manila Water and Maynilad.
The task force has a wide scope of powers and functions, including enforcing relevant provisions of Presidential Decree 856 or the Sanitation Code, Republic Act 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004, and RA 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
It is also mandated to ensure that agencies and local government units (LGUs) implement appropriate measures against violators of these laws.
In particular, mayors in Metro Manila and the governors of Bataan, Pampanga, Bulacan and Cavite provinces should ensure the implementation of relevant environmental regulations.
The DENR will enforce RA 9275 with regards to the containment, removal and clean-up operations aside from supervising and managing all aspects of water quality management.
It will also monitor compliance with environmental laws on top of issuing notices of closure, cease and desist orders, and other sanctions to violators, including erring government officials.
The Manila Bay Task Force is expected to submit a quarterly report to the Office of the President on the actions taken by agencies and LGUs, and recommendations on amending existing laws.
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