Villar chides PPA exec over sanitation nightmare at Manila port
The sight of informal settlers dangling at the Port of Manila and dumping human waste at sea angered Senator Cynthia Villar during a Senate hearing on Monday.
At the hearing of the Senate committee on environment and natural resources, which she chairs, Villar gave the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) a dressing down for its continued failure to act on the estimated 1,500 families living at the port, without toilets.
“Ano na ang balak nyong gawin dun sa mga nakalaylay dun na walang mga toilet sa PPA?” she asked PPA General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago.
Santiago said the PPA had already coordinated with the port operators, particularly the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), who agreed to come up with a program to help the settlers there.
“Usapan namin… as part of their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), they should be able to put together a program to be able to help the settlers there,” the PPA chief said.
“They will stay there, and you will help them. How about their ano, wala silang toilet dun? Anong gagawin natin dun?” Villar asked, adding that the squatters should be relocated in another area.
“Hindi pwedeng nakalaylay yun doon. Papaanong lalagyan ng toilet sa ibabaw ng tubig?” she further asked.
Santiago conceded that it was not a waste management problem but more of a relocation and housing issue.
Not satisfied with the answer, Villar chided the official, saying it was the PPA’s responsibility to observe sanitation in the port.
“E kasi hindi ma-imagine ng mga tao na nandun sa ’yo mismo yung mga squatters na [dumudumi] do’n sa dagat kaya yun ang responsibility mo. But in reality, your responsibility is to observe sanitation there in your port. Kasi sa buong mundo wala namang port na may nakatira na ganyan na [dumudumi] sa dagat. Sayo lang.”
“Pumpunta ako sa port ng Hong Kong… may nakikita ka bang ganyan? Only in the Philippines,” the senator said.
Villar said the ports, and not the mining firms, should have not been given environmental clearance by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Every time she passes through the area and saw the squatters, the senator said, she was always reminded of the PPA.
Then at pointblank, Villar asked Santiago, who served as legal counsel of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation during the past administration, what he had contributed so far to the present administration.
“Ano ba ang balak mong i-contribute kay President Duterte? Di ba ito? Kasi yung mga port operators mo, they can take care of themselves. They are rich…but this one is your CSR, tulungan mo kami because this is bad,this is bad,” she said.
“Ayusin mo. Lahat tayo may responsibility. Ako nga hindi man ako taga Baseco, naaawa lang ako sa Baseco e. 10,000 families wallowing in their open defecation. Walang toilet. Pag lumakad ka dun, tuwing pupunta ako dun hindi ako makatawa kasi ang tatapakan ko human waste…” she further said.