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PIA Press Release
2008/08/23

DENR launches Manila Bay law enforcement team

Quezon City (23 August) -- Amid worldwide calls to address climate change caused by unmitigated pollution, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Lito Atienza has launched the Manila Bay Law Enforcement Team (MBLET) that will be in charge of the enforcement of all relevant environmental laws, rules and regulations for the protection, conservation and management of the Manila Bay river basin.

In an austere ceremony held in his office, Atienza emphasized the need to rehabilitate the country's critical water resources around the industrial centers that are worst hit by the accumulated pollution brought about by decades of industrial activity. "The realities and challenges thrust upon us and our future generations by climate change has taken us to this point that we have to act decisively, intensively and comprehensively," Atienza said.

"The Manila Bay Law Enforcement Team will spearhead the conservation of the bay and will coordinate with concerned government agencies and local government units with regard to its operations. And because DENR is limited by finite resources and manpower for such a monumental task of cleaning-up our vast marine resources, I encourage every Filipino to pitch in his share and join our cause to save not just our country from environmental degradation, but the whole world as well," Atienza stressed.

The Manila bay encompasses a vast shoreline area that stretches from Cavite to Bataan.

It serves as the main catch basin of industrial waste run-off from the National Capital Region (NCR) and the neighboring industrialized regions.

The pollution level in the bay has remained critical and pose a major health risk to the area's dense population, especialy during the rainy season when flooding are prevalent.

The presence of numerous illegal fish pens occupying expansive off-shore areas, particularly in Cavite, exacerbates the situation by polluting the waters further and restricting the free-flow of currents in the bay, posing certain risk to marine life. These illegal structures also obstruct free navigation of sea-faring crafts.

Atienza has ordered the immediate dismantling of the fish pens following requests made by the local government units of affected provinces.

Atienza named DENR Assistant Secretary Mark Allan Jay Yambao as team leader of the MBLET citing the latter's experience in local government administration, his familiarity with youth advocacies and his networking skills.

Yambao will be joined by equally youthful volunteers from varying backgrounds and expertise.

The selection of the team's composition was viewed positively by observers as a testament to Atienza's faith in the youth's idealism and sense of duty to country. For his part, Yambao vowed to work aggressively to mitigate further degradation to the Manila bay. "Our goal is to get as many people involved as possible, to work together and accomplish our task of stopping the sources of pollution," he said.

This means we will reach out to the private sector, the youth and the academe, get our heads together and hopefully share manpower and technical expertise," Yambao said.

"We will foster cooperation and consult with all the concerned sectors, that way we will all be informed of the objective at hand and therefore act accordingly and concertedly, this is the only way we can address the pollution problem and ultimately, climate change," Yambao added. (PIA) [top]

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