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First in PH media: UNTV underwater drone explores Manila Bay’s murky seabed

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, February 7th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — On the surface, the sight of Manila Bay may be viewed as clean and fresh as if it has returned to its original, unspoiled state.

But what seems to be a beautiful sight on the surface of the bay is not what it looks like below.

For the first time in the history of Philippine media, UNTV News and Rescue team explored what lies beneath the inviting waters of Manila Bay.

Using UNTV’s underwater ROV (remotely operated vehicle) drone, the team first took a look at the section of the bay in Padre Faura.

Aside from the low tide, the underwater drone was not able to swim farther, but it was able to capture a long stretch of marshy, muddy ground in the area.

Next stop was in Remedios area.  

The underwater drone was able to reach 10-feet below the water surface but not a single sign of life was seen. Instead, the drone captured an assortment of trash, a lot of them, that had taken the place of corals on the seafloor.

On the surface, the water seemed clear but turned yellowish to greenish to deep black as the drone swam deeper.

As a proof of Manila Bay’s “dark secrets” underneath, the underwater ROV got tangled with some plastic trash when it emerged from the water.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) admitted that Manila Bay’s seabed has grown ‘mountains’ of garbage that were washed to this portion of the bay in the past 40 to 50 years.

The DENR has decided to dredge Manila Bay 300 meters from the shoreline and up to three meters below to clean out the garbage from the seabed. The operations will be carried out with the help of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

“Hahabulin po namin ang tamang lalim at ang goal namin (ay) una, ma-expose ang beach materials o ang sand. Pangalawa, sa pamamagitan din ng pagtanggal na iyan, hopefully, it will contribute sa improvement ng water quality,” explained DPWH, Bureau of Equipment director Toribio Noel Ilaw.

The DENR, meanwhile, reported a decline in fecal coliform level in the waters of Manila Bay.

Based on the test conducted on water samples in the Padre Faura area, from 330 million most probable number (MPN) per 100 milliliters before the rehabilitation efforts began, the coliform content reduced to 54 million MPN/100ml and even lower to 7.5 million MPN/100ml.

In Remedios area, fecal coliform level reduced from 160 million to 35 million MPN/100ml while in Manila Yatch Club area, it reduced from 1.3 billion to 52 million MPN/100ml at present.

“(Paano) bumaba? The Manila Zoo was the big culprit and when they closed it, they did not dump their waste. (So) there is now 52 million from a high of 1.3 billion,” noted Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu.

Cimatu added that the crackdown on establishments polluting Manila Bay by ordering ‘cease and desist’ and issuance of notice of violations prompted a stop in waste discharges and contributed to the lowering of coliform level in the bay.

Despite these improvements, environment and health officials still do not recommend recreational swimming as health hazards of contaminated water remain high anywhere in Manila Bay. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from JL Asayo)

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Old structures in Manila need checking for quality, safety — Solidum

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

Courtesy : Thebureauasia.com

MANILA, Philippines – Science and Technology Undersecretary Renato Solidum has recommended placing under quality assessment all old structures in the city of Manila.

This is in reaction to Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso’s remarks about the city’s lack of a concrete risk reduction management plan or a detailed hazard map.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) Director said the local government of Manila should primarily address the city’s disaster preparedness and capability ahead of the ‘Big One’ or the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that the West Valley Fault may generate in the future.

“Tingnan kung ano ba ang kalidad ng mga bahay at gusali (Check the quality of the houses and buildings),” Solidum noted.

“Ang Manila maraming luma. Marami ding informal settlement at marami diyan non-engineered ang mga bahay (Manila has a lot of old (structures), a lot of informal settlement and most of them are non-engineered houses),” he added.

Based on a report from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the city of Manila is a ‘total failure’ when it comes to disaster resilience or its capability to respond in natural disasters and other hazards.

Solidum explained that Manila’s base being a coastal city is prone to liquefaction because it is near Manila Bay.

“Ang kaibahan ng Quezon city sa Manila ay matigas ang foundation ng Quezon city. (Ang) Manila (ay) hindi, kundi malambot (The difference between Quezon City and Manila is that Quezon City has a solid foundation. With Manila, no. It has a yielding base),” Solidum said.

The Quezon City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (QCRRMC) has received the 2018 Gawad Kalasag Award as the Best Local DRRMC under the Highly Urbanized Category.

They have assigned six district evacuation sites other than Quezon City circle.

According to the head of the QCDRRMO Myke Marasigan, they have included in their contingency plan the color-coded alert level to be able to immediately respond to earthquake situations.

“If the magnitude and the epicenter is near Quezon city, for example 5.5 below, then we could always trigger the yellow alert meaning on-call, standby and do damage assessment immediately,” Marasigan explained.

The QCDRRMO also conducts regular earthquake drills to prepare the residents for potential ground shaking.

The city government is making sure of preparing all barangays since they cannot rescue everyone at the same time.

“They will be ready as an individual, ibig sabihin meron kang (meaning you have your) ‘Go Bag’ ready or disaster kits na sinasabi natin,” Marasigan said.

“Susunod niyan as a family kung nagusap-usap na ba tayo pag halimbawa lumildol magkakahiwalay tayo saan tayo mag-mi-meetup? (Next is the family. Have you set up a plan that in case of an earthquake and you’ve been separated from one another, where should you meet?),” he added.

According to Solidum, the city of Manila is able to prepare its residents but it is important that they do it systematically. – with details from Rey Pelayo.

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DPWH to sue driver of truck that caused part of Roxas Blvd. to collapse

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, June 24th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is planning to file charges against the driver of a dump truck which caused a part of the Roxas Boulevard to collapse on Sunday while it was transporting sand for the ongoing rehabilitation of Manila Bay.

DPWH district engineer Mikunug Macud said they would file charges against the driver of the 14-wheeled truck for violating the load limit and passing through a secondary road where trucks are banned from traversing.  

The incident happened at past 1:00 a.m. along Roxas Boulevard corner Remedios street in Ermita, Manila.

The truck, which came from Pampanga, was heading to Manila Baywalk to deliver tons of sand for the Manila Bay rehabilitation project when it fell into a hole.

According to the truck driver, he was supposed to take Roxas Boulevard’s main road but traffic law enforcers allegedly directed them to pass through the service road to give way to a fun run event.

Macud said the truck carrying sand weighed about 42 tons while the Remedios street could only accommodate 20 tons.

The portion of the road that collapsed was built over a double barrel box culvert, which served as one of the city’s main drainage system. It was built in the 1970s.

“Dapat ang driver, alam niya ‘yung dapat daanan niya… hindi naman siya talaga dapat dumaan diyan kasi mayroon naman silang mga designated area,” Macud said.

The Remedios street was temporarily closed to traffic as authorities are still trying to extricate the truck out of the hole.

The DPWH hopes to immediately remove the truck to commence repairs on the damaged road. (with details from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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‘Battle for Rivers and Esteros’: Massive clean-up of Manila Bay

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Monday, April 1st, 2019

DPWH personnel collect plastic waste from polluted esteros | Courtesy: DENR

MANILA, Philippines — Around 5,301 sacks of garbage were collected on Sunday (March 31) in the ‘Battle for Rivers and Esteros’ — a massive clean-up drive of Manila Bay.

Waterways leading to Manila Bay were filled with piles of waste.

Some volunteers used small boats to collect trash while others needed to use cranes and backhoes.

Various groups, government agencies, and residents participated in the cleaning of the waterways that lead to Manila Bay.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu said cleaning the waterways is a step toward cleaning the rivers leading to the bay.

“Ang Parañaque River natin ay isa sa medyo maduming river na dumidiretso sa Manila Bay. Kailangang linisin natin ang Parañaque River, pero ang Parañaque River hindi natin malilinis kung hindi natin isama ang mga estero na pumupunta sa Parañaque River, (The Parañaque River is among the polluted rivers that lead to Manila Bay. We need to clean that. But we cannot do so if we will not clean first the waterways leading to Parañaque River) he said.

Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior of Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año recommends relocating all informal settlers living along the waterways.

He said cleaning Manila Bay is for the sake of the future generation and that it is time to take action.

“Alam ko sa ginagawa nating ito marami tayong nasasagasaan, Mayroong sasama ang loob , pero wala tayo magagwa dahil wala nang panahon, (I know that our activities might upset some groups. They might protest but there’s nothing we can do about it. There is no time),” he said.

Residents who volunteered in the clean-up believe this will help improve their barangay.

Among the rivers that were cleaned include Tullahan, Tinejeos, Pasig, Navotas, Parañaque and San Juan.

Amy Gallarte, a resident of Barangay. Tumana, Marikina City said that cleaning the waterways can help prevent flooding in their area.

“Kailangan po kasi natin ang kalinisan lalong-lalo na po ang creek. Kasi pag nagbara ang creek hindi po dadaloy ang tubig, makukulong po iyan, (We need cleanliness especially in the waterways. Because once it gets blocked, water will get stuck there) she said.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

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