By Chito Chavez
Yesterday, the MMC composed of all the Metro Manila mayors and led by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Danilo Lim passed a resolution that concurred and supported the DILG’s call to proceed with the Manila Bay Rehabilitation (MBR) program as soon as possible.
DILG secretary Eduardo M. Año and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) secretary Roy Cimatu met with all Metro Manila Mayors at the MMDA office to discuss issues and concerns regarding the MBR program.
In the said meeting the DILG sought the support of the local government units (LGUs) in the closure of business establishments found to be violating environmental laws and are located within the planned relocation sites of informal settler families (ISFs) from coastal areas, esteros, and waterways in Metro Manila.
“The mayors are 100 percent behind our effort to clean up and rehabilitate Manila Bay. They also committed to immediately close all establishments that were previously issued with Cease and Desist Orders (CDOs) by the DENR or LLDA (Laguna Lake Development Authority). They will also conduct their own inspections using their own sanitary and CENRO (Community Environment and Natural Resources Office) personnel,” said Año.
Cimatu also informed the mayors that they will issue CDOs, Show Cause Orders, and Notice of Violations to all inspected business establishments found to be violating environmental laws.
Likewise, Año urged the mayors to conduct their own inspections using their own authority under the Local Government Code and close businesses without waiting for the DENR so long as applicable laws are followed.
The mayors also expressed their support to the resettlement of ISFs to in-city resettlement or provincial resettlement areas with the help of the National Housing Authority and the DILG.
Latest DILG records show that there around 220,000 ISFs living along the Manila Bay watershed area, including those settling along the 17 tributary river systems that flow into the Manila Bay Area.
“I am pleased that the mayors and the DENR collectively support this major undertaking for us to achieve our goal of relocating ISFs to better places where they can have a better life,” Año added.
Año appealed to the mayors to fast track their own housing programs for their constituents while the DILG will work with the government housing agencies to build more housing units for the qualified beneficiaries.