DENR denies dolomite caused fish kill in Manila Bay

Marje Pelayo   •   September 18, 2020   •   794

MANILA, Philippines – A video taken by Regine Nequia, president of Baseco Seaside Neighborhood Association (BASA), showed dead fish floating in Manila Bay near the Baseco Compound on Thursday (September 17) morning.

She said that a similar incident have happened in the past, but the amount of dead fish has not been as large.

Residents are asking authorities to look into the matter not only because their livelihoods depend on the bay, but also because of the stench coming from the rotting fish.

“Ang mga nawalan ng trabaho dyan kumukuha ng pangaraw-araw ding ulam, [Residents who lost their jobs get their daily meal from the fish there],” Nequia said.

“Iyog mga mangingisda naman sa ngayon ay sadyang nababahala kasi dyan nila kinukuha yung kanilang pangkabuhayan, [Fishermen, meanwhile, expressed concern over the incident as they depend (on the bay) for their income],” she added.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has refuted claims that the dolomite or artificial white sand being dumped along Roxas Boulevard was the cause of the fish kill in the bay.

According to Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda, the Baseco area is way far from Roxas Boulevard and the two sections are divided by a breakwater.

He also noted that it seems impossible that the fish kill happened only in Baseco area but not in the Roxas Boulevard area where the dolomite dumping is located.

“It’s impossible na iyong fish kill nandoon lang sa lugar nila pero ang nourishment nandito sa kabila. Also, there is a big divider which is the breakwater so it is really impossible na dito sa atin nanggaling iyon,” Antiporda said.

The official cited similar incidents of fish kill that occurred in October last year which happened in the portions of Las Piñas and Parañaque but that was caused by the lowering of oxygen level in the water.

Nonetheless, Antiporda is not discounting the possibility of a sabotage or someone putting poison in that part of the bay to discredit the ongoing beach nourishment project.

“Mas gusto natin tingnan iyong positive side rather than may nanabotahe but hindi din namin dini-discount iyan at tinitingnan naming mabuti kung meron pa rin bang cyanide fishing,” he said.

The agency has taken water samples from Baseco area and from the site of the white beach project to help in the investigation. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

PNP deploys more cops to enforce health protocols at Manila Bay dolomite beach

Robie de Guzman   •   July 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Guillermo Eleazar on Tuesday ordered the deployment of more personnel at the Manila Bay dolomite beach to ensure the enforcement of minimum health protocols amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“I have tasked the Manila Police District to deploy additional policemen in the area to ensure that persons who visit the beach observe minimum public health safety standards and follow quarantine protocols,” Eleazar said in a statement.

“Kailangan ng masusing pagpaplano at regular na monitoring sa lugar upang matiyak na hindi na maulit ang nangyari last year na hindi nasunod ang social distancing ng mga taong bumibisita,” he added.

Eleazar recalled that an MPD official was relieved after failing to enforce the social distancing rule among visitors during the beach’s brief opening last year.

The PNP chief urged the public to cooperate with authorities and follow health protocols when visiting the beach.

“Mahigpit ang bilin ng SILG Secretary Eduardo Año na iwasang mangyari ang super spreader events lalo ngayon na may mga report ng local transmission ng COVID-19 Delta variant,” Eleazar said.

“Sa mga kababayan naman natin na nagpaplanong pumunta sa dolomite beach, sumunod tayo sa mga alituntunin at huwag na tayong maging pasaway dahil para din ito sa inyong kaligtasan,” he added.

The beach was opened again to the public on Sunday. Visitors may visit the area until July 20.

Another coral garden discovered in Maragondon, Cavite

Marje Pelayo   •   June 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The country has yet another natural treasure discovered in the waters of Cavite that is connected to Manila Bay.

Members of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and volunteer divers were having a clean up drive, “scubasurero” and seagrass monitoring activity in Barangay Patungan in Cavite when they accidentally discovered another coral garden coinciding with the celebration of World Environment Day.

“Recently lang po last June 5, na-discover din po namin na meron din pong coral garden sa Cove ng Barangay Patungan sa Maragondon,” said Andrea Panganiban of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) Cavite.

Panganiban said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is currently conducting an assessment on the said coral garden.

On June 15, PENRO Cavite held another “scubasurero” activity in Maragondon and Ternate in Cavite where they installed marker buoys within the area covering the newly discovered coral garden and within the Maragondon Fish Sanctuary.

It can be recalled that on May 17, over 169 square kilometers of coral garden was discovered at the core zone of Ternate Marine Park within the vicinity of Barangay Sapang Uno and Barangay Bucana.

“Ang nangyari po noon, kami po ay nasa project na maglalagay ng marker buoys para palatandaan kung hanggang saan po ang boundary ng ating core zone upang mabigyan ng impormasyon ang ating mga mangingisda na hindi sila pwedeng pumasok doon. Then kasama po natin sa paglalagay ang mga volunteer divers po natin na gusto nilang makatulong sa pagdodokumento ang proseso po ang ating proyekto,” Panganiban said.

“Nung natapos po natin iyon, nag-scout sila sa ilalim ng dagat. At ayun nga po nadiscover na meron pa tayong napakagandang coral garden sa core zone natin,” she added.

The coral garden measures about 20 meters away from the shoreline of Caylabne and approximately 26 meters in depth.

These new discoveries will contribute greatly to the province’s tourism industry.

“Kasi kung io-open po ito as diving site at kung i-offer po ito as a tourist destination ng management board, magkakaroon po ito ng magandang epekto. Malaki pong potensyal ang lugar pag na-open po siya sa turismo. Magkakaroon po ng pagtaas ng pagkita ng mga mamamayan doon aside from that matutulungan po ang ating community ng fisherfolk na kumita na hindi na nila kailangan magextract sa dagat.” Panganiban noted.

“Posible rin na mabawasan ang mga ilegal fishing sa area dahil sila na mismo ang mangangalaga sa lugar dahil iyon ay pinagkakakitaan na nila,” she added.

PENRO Cavite calls on the public to properly manage disposal of waste in their areas to prevent water pollution.

“Sa lahat ng mga mamamayan na nakapaligid po sa Manila Bay, isakatuparan lang po natin ang tamang pagtatapon ng basura dahil ang basura po na nagmumula sa taas yan po ay napupunta sa dagat,” Panganiban said.

“Kahit po mga simpleng pagtatapon ng balat ng candy, malaking katulungan po iyan sa atin na hindi na mapupunta pa sa dagat,” she added reminding the public to observe safety health protocols to fully experience safe and fun travel in the new normal.

DENR calls on sea vessel owners to explain dumping of waste in Manila Bay

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will summon the owners of sea vessels that dock at the Navotas Fish Port in Baseco, Manila through the Anti-Pollution Task Force.

The DENR, along with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), conducted an inspection at the Navotas Fish Port on Friday (June 4) to check for metal content, fecal coliform, and grease present in the water.

According to DENR Usec. Benny Antiporda, several sea vessels docked at the Fish Port are dumping waste in Manila Bay.

Antiporda said the department will summon the concerned individuals to explain the issue.

“We will talk to them immediately after this kasi ipasu-summon natin sila sa Anti-Pollution Task Force para magkaroon ng dialogue between sea vessels and the government,” he said.

According to the captain of one of the cargo vessels, Angelito Balitaan, there are instances that they would throw waste in Manila Bay because their vessel does not have a sewage system and they do not have enough funds for sewage repairs.

“Starting na natuto ako nang ganiyan iyan na kinagisnan ko, minana na din iyan wala pang implementation ng mga sewage sewage,” he said.

Meanwhile, the test results of the water samples will be released in a week.  AAC (with reports from JP Nuñez)

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