Government

Cleaning Manila Bay like Boracay rehab will be disastrous – Tañada

Cleaning Manila Bay like Boracay rehab will be disastrous - Tañada

While he welcomed ongoing efforts to clean Manila Bay, former Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada warned that copying the blueprint for the Boracay rehabilitation would be disastrous.

According to Tañada, who is gunning for a Senate seat in the May 2019 midterm elections, “merely replicating what the government did in Boracay would be a disaster.”

“We love with intensity right? Cleaning up Manila Bay shouldn’t be done artificially and in haste. True love is just and it waits,” the former lawmaker said in a statement on Wednesday.

“We have seen how rehabilitation plans have put countries in more debts, poverty, and environmental risks because of bad planning,” he added.

In a speech in early January in Pasay, President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to clean the polluted Manila Bay after its initial six-month rehabilitation of Boracay. Weeks after, a massive clean-up drive was initiated, revealing a trash-free coastline of the bay area along Roxas Boulevard in Manila.

The same agencies tasked to clean Boracay — Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and Department of Tourism (DOT) — will be spearheading the Manila bay rehab.

Tañada said that there should be a concrete relocation plan with details on livelihood and compensation schemes before the Manila Bay rehab starts.

“Cleaning the area shouldn’t be at the cost of more families going into deeper poverty […] It will be dangerous for government to start negotiations with businesses and development banks on investment plans without a strategic and people-centered map to carry out the rehabilitation,” he explained.

“Let’s do an assessment of the progress of the government agencies’ response before agreeing on a plan that will do more harm than good to its resources, review its impact on the environment, and on the people who are dependent to these resources for their livelihood,” he added.

Aside from the government, Tañada also called out water concessionaires operating in Manila, which have treated Manila Bay as its giant “toilet bowl.”

“We are paying sewerage fees to these companies for decades and yet only 15 percent of water consumers are connected to sewer lines. This means the Bay remains to be Manila’s toilet bowl,” he claimed.

An estimated 220,000 families have resided in makeshift shanties near the coastline, which spans from Hagonoy and Obando in Bulacan, then the Metro Manila cities of Malabon, Navotas, Manila, Pasay, and parts of Cavite province.

source: Inquirer

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