Environmental group launches online petition vs Manila Bay white sand project

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 9, 2020   •   1262

MANILA, Philippines — Marine conservation group, Oceana Philippines, has launched an online petition to stop the “white sand” project of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Manila Bay.

Oceana Philippines, with other non-government organizations, said they are fighting for the protection and conservation of the country’s vastly threatened fisheries, biodiversity, and natural resources.

The petition cited five laws which the project allegedly violated:

  • Environmental Impact System Laws and Regulations
  • The Fisheries Code (RA 8550) as amended by RA 10654
  • The Clean Water Act, RA 9275
  • The National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009, RA 10066
  • The Local Government Code of 1991, RA 7160

The groups are calling for the accountability of officials behind the project and recommend that the Manila Bay rehabilitation be focused on addressing the ecological degradation, pollution and socio-economic issues in the area.

“The dumping of crushed dolomite boulders in Manila Bay can only be described as an abdication of that grave responsibility to protect and preserve Manila Bay. This is happening at the time when our nation faces serious health, economic and climate crises,” the petition reads.

READ: Cimatu defends Manila Bay white sand project, says dolomite is safe

The so-called “white sand” project has drawn criticisms from environmental groups and netizens who described the initiative as unnecessary government expenditure. AAC

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)

DENR warns traders illegally selling wildlife species online

Marje Pelayo   •   May 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu warned illegal wildlife traders that they are being monitored by the agency’s wildlife enforcers even amid the quarantine.

“Mobility restrictions may cause some deterrence to our wildlife enforcers, but these shall not stop them from implementing environmental laws to protect our natural resources,” Secretary Cimatu of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said.

The official made such a warning following the arrest of a certain Benjie Saunar for illegal possession and selling of two Umbrella cockatoos (Cacatua alba) in a buy-bust operation conducted by the DENR’s Environmental Protection and Enforcement Task Force (EPETF) on April 28.

The operatives also recovered a Palm cockatoo (Probosciger aterrimus) from Saunar’s possession.

Prior to the operation, the suspect was monitored by the DENR- EPETF operatives to have been illegally selling wildlife species online.

He was apprehended in an entrapment operation conducted by the DENR EPETF with the Manila Police District Station 8 and the Manila District Anti-Cybercrime Team.

The suspect has undergone inquest proceedings at the Manila City Prosecutors Office and is charged for violating Republic Act (RA) 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Protection and Conservation Act of 2001.

As of May 3, the wildlife species, along with other paraphernalia, such as the motorcycle and cellphone used by Saunar, are under the custody of the DENR-NCR Office.

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