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15 factories in Bulacan shut down for pumping chemical waste to Manila Bay

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, January 29th, 2019

Photo courtesy of DENR-Region 3

BULACAN, Philippines – There is no stopping the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) from its crackdown of facilities that pollute Manila Bay.

In Bulacan, the agency’s regional office ordered the closure of 15 factories in the Municipalities of Marilao and Meycauayan for pumping waste water directly to river estuaries that link to Manila Bay.

In a report released by DENR on Friday (January 25), the agency issued ‘cease and desist’ order to 12 leather and tannery firms in Meycauayan and three in Marilao.

On Monday (January 28), the DENR cemented the drainage canal of five leather factories to prevent wastewater from draining to the rivers of Marilao and Meycauayan.

“Ang mga operations na ganito,na walang waste water treatment facility, walang permit, malaki ang contribution nila sa pollution,” explained Emerlyn Claudio, the DENR Region 3 Director.

Claudio accused the said establishments to have violated the Clean Water Act for not having their respective water treatment facility and environmental compliance certificate.

The environment official also noted that the said factories are discharging dark and chemically contaminated wastewater that flows directly to Manila Bay.

Aside from damage to the environment, the factories’ operations also cause inconvenience to the residents nearby.

“Ito nga tayo masakit na sa dibdib. Nakakasulasok na ang amoy. Kung yung mga nasa paligid, lalo na yung may exposure, I think this is one of the reasons why may complaint dati. Pero nag-stop sila and then nag resurface naman ang operation nila,” explained Claudio.

Local officials vowed to monitor closely the concerned companies after the shutdown.

“Mabaho na may kulay. May sulfite iyan ay nakakarating sa aming barangay. Imo-monitor na namin iyan araw-araw para ma-check kung mayroong tumatapon na tubig na marurumi,” said Chirs Polo Delos Santos, an official of Barangay Tugatog.

Meanwhile, the DENR warned closure against other companies if proven to have been violating environmental law particularly by disposing solid, water and chemical waste in aquatic environments such as Manila Bay. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Nestor Torres)

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DENR pushes for alternative mining

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Friday, May 24th, 2019

Mining site

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) pushes for alternative mining in order to care for the country’s environment.

DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu encourages mining engineers to find ways to mine without harming the environment. Cimatu added that they are looking into surface mining as one of the alternatives.

“As long as you don’t destroy it, instead if you are able to get the mineral content then you resurface it at the same time make sure na ang mga water na dumadaan doon hindi mapupunta sa unless being treated muna, (make sure the water will be treated first)” he said.

Meanwhile, the environment secretary assured there are sufficient materials for the government’s Build Build Build Program.

Cimatu said the country has enough supply of cement, and aggregate materials including sand, stone, and steel bars.

“Sufficient naman iyan (That is sufficient) in fact the aggregates are doing well and we are allowing the quarrying in some rivers but will make sure that na hindi masisira ang river, (the rive will not be damaged)” he said.—(with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

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Prioritize implementation of environmental laws—DENR to newly elected local officials

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Monday, May 20th, 2019

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) urges newly elected local officials to prioritize implementation of environmental laws.

DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu reminded the new leaders to prioritize full and strict implementation of environmental laws, particularly on solid waste management.

“The task force cannot do it alone. We need the full cooperation of LGUs,” Cimatu added.

Meanwhile, DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and LGU Concerns, Benny Antiporda, called on the local government units (LGU) to report any law violations.

“By doing so, these officials will send the right signal early on in their administration and that is, they do not tolerate any wrongdoing. We will go after both newly elected and outgoing local officials who violated environmental laws,” Antiporda said.

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Raps filed vs 8 Chinese nabbed in Bulacan ‘fake cigarette’ warehouse

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, May 17th, 2019

Local authorities on Friday (May 17) filed charges against eight Chinese nationals who were arrested in a warehouse that allegedly manufactures fake cigarettes in Marilao, Bulacan.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) lodged serious illegal detention charges and other raps against the still unidentified Chinese nationals for purportedly holding more than 80 workers at the storage house and forcing them to manufacture fake cigarettes.

“‘Yan yung pumasok sa element na serious illegal detention, kasi detention ‘yan. ‘Pag may worker ka, dapat pinalalabas mo, unang-una to feel fresh, walang fresh air sa loob,” said NBI Bulacan chief Noel Bocaling.

The foreign suspects were nabbed on Thursday after the NBI teamed up with local police to launch an operation inside a compound in Barangay Patubig. Around 87 workers who were recruited from North Cotabato were rescued by the operatives.

Authorities raided the area after receiving information from one of the workers who managed to sneak out of the warehouse.

One of the rescued workers, Jonathan Garcia, said they have been subjected to forced labor for many months after he and his companions were lured by a false promise of high pay.

“Marami kami pagpunta namin sa Maynila 20 kami. Sabi nila, maganda daw ang pasahod,” said Garcia, adding that they were promised to be given P10,000 worth of salary each month.

Renato Kalaman, who was also among those rescued from the warehouse, said they were made to work day and night without proper wages and benefits. They also had no idea they were making counterfeit cigarette products.

“Hindi ka makakita ng araw, ‘pag umaga madilim. Peke o orig talaga sigarilyo, di namin alam kasi di kami marunong,” he said.

The workers are now under the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development for processing and documentation before they are sent back home. They will also receive a financial assistance worth P5,000 each.

Authorities are still working on identifying the owner of the said warehouse where more than P1-billion worth of fake cigarette products and machines used in manufacturing cigarettes were confiscated. More than P1-million pieces of fake cigarette product seals were also recovered. (with details from Nestor Torres)

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