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Next on Manila Bay cleanup: Coordination on business permits near bay

Local government units have been ordered to coordinate with national agencies in issuing permits to commercial establishments fronting the Manila Bay, which is undergoing a massive cleanup, Interior Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III said Tuesday. 

Several establishments recently closed by the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) for polluting Manila Bay had permits to operate from the local government. 

“Kailangan nating i-coordinate iyung ginagawa ng national government sa lokal. Alam naman nating minsan, sa pagkuha ng mayor and business permit, hindi nakakabit iyung mga national government permits. Iha-harmonize natin iyan,” Densing told radio DZMM.

(We need to coordinate what the national government does with the local. We know that sometimes, the application for mayor and business permits is not tied with national government permits. We will harmonize that.) 

“Halimbawa po, kung wala silang national government permit galing sa LLDA o kung ano pang national government agency, wala rin dapat silang local permits. Kung masuspinde iyung permit na nanggagaling sa national government agencies, kailangan automatic na suspendihin din ang local,” he added. 

(For example, if they do not have national government permits from the LLDA or any other government agency, they shouldn’t have local permits, too. If the permit from national government agencies is suspended, the local permit should be suspended automatically also.) 

The Interior department on Monday met with over 100 local government heads and representatives to coordinate their actions for Manila Bay’s rehabilitation, said Densing. 

The agency also sent a show cause order to some 57 LGUS that lack a 10-year solid waste management plan, he said. 

The cleanup of Manila Bay and surrounding areas started last Jan. 27, following the 6-month rehabilitation of Boracay Island, which ended in October last year.

The quality of water off the bay has started to improve while tons of garbage were collected by volunteers and government workers, the environment department said.

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Despite these improvements, it is still unsafe to bathe in Manila Bay due to the fecal coliform content of the water, said the agency.

Manila Bay’s rehabilitation could take years and is estimated to cost P47 billion, experts earlier said.

Thousands participate in the yearly cleanup of Manila Bay, but the area gets swamped by garbage again during the rainy season. 

DZMM, 12 January 2019