Calamba City, Laguna - The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Honorable Secretary Roy A. Cimatu chaired the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program Special Meeting, together with Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Unit Concerns Benny D. Antiporda, Undersecretary for Policy, Planning, and International Affairs Jonas R. Leones, Undersecretary for Enforcement Benito T. De Leon, DENR CALABARZON Regional Executive Director Nilo B. Tamoria, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) of Cavite Ronita A. Unlayao, Cavite Governor Juanito Victor Remulla, and the Local Chief Executives on Thursday, June 25, 2021, at the Tanza Oasis Hotel and Resort, Tanza, Cavite.

According to Secretary Cimatu, two (2) main problems in the province are the Solid Waste Management (SWM) and the water quality of the rivers.

“The number one problem of the province when it comes to the environment is solid waste”, Governor Juanito Victor Remulla emphasized. He disclosed that 21 out of 23 Local Government Units (LGUs) in Cavite do not have the capacity to put up their own solid waste facilities because of limitations of land area in the Province. Governor Remulla pleaded to the DENR to put a national imposition for Provinces to establish their own sanitary and better managed landfill in the province. “50% of our solid waste, which is approximately 2,000 tons a day, goes to the rivers,” added Governor Remulla.

DENR Usec Antiporda shared that they aim to implement a total solid waste management solution, where sanitary landfills, composting and recycling facilities, and residual diversion shall be established. With proper segregation we can effectively reduce our generated waste. He added that about 70% of our total wastes generated are biodegradable, while the other 20% are recyclables. USec Antiporda also shared their Strategic Mitigation Plan for downstream and upstream rivers in Cavite. They are targeting to install 30-meters victory trash traps to be installed in downstream rivers, while PET bottles with wire mesh trash traps will be installed for the upstream rivers.

 “I am now appealing to all the concerned LGUs to strictly implement and enforce the RA 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000). Likewise, to also address the water quality issues of the bay, we encourage the LGUs to check environmental compliances of industries within your respective area of responsibilities.” Antiporda is also the Head of the Cavite Cluster Taskforce and Manila Bay Anti-Pollution Taskforce.

In relation to the water quality of the rivers in Cavite, DENR CALABARZON Regional Executive Director Nilo B. Tamoria disclosed that multiple sampling stations were established in Cavite to closely monitor its water quality. “Kinukumpleto po natin ang Geographic Information System ng buong cavite para makita ang mga kasalukuyang sitwasyon ng bawat river system para sa kaukulang estratehiya na pagtutulungan ng pambansa at lokal na pamahalaan”, he added.

Mayor of Mendez, Atty. Fredderick A. Vida emphasized that the business sector should ensure sustainable packaging so as to minimize their contribution to wastes from single use plastics. The DENR has already proposed the Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) to the legislative body. According to USec Antiporda, with the EPR, manufacturers shall take the full responsibility for collecting and retrieving all the waste generated from their products.

Secretary Cimatu proceeded to inspect various river systems including Maragondon River and the adjacent coastal areas.

Participants underwent an RT-PCR antigen test prior to the conduct of the event. The IATF protocol was strictly observed throughout the meeting. ###