SECRETARY CIMATU’S MAIN PRIORITY IS TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF OUR ENVIRONMENT, PARTICULARLY OUR AIR, WATER AND ADDRESS SOLID WASTE PROBLEMS. THUS, THE DENR WILL BE IMPLEMENTING ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS.
FOR CLEAN WATER, OUR PRIORITY ACTIVITIES ARE THE FOLLOWING: (1) MONITORING OF THE COMPLIANCE OF FIRMS/INDUSTRIES; (2) CONDUCT OF CLASSIFICATION OF WATERBODIES; AND (3) DESIGNATION OF WQMAS
The program is implemented based on the established environmental laws specifically RA 9275, the Philippine Clean Water Act (CWA) that provides for a comprehensive strategy to address the degradation of our waterbodies. It mandates the Bureau to formulate and implement policies and strengthen partnerships with stakeholders to improve water quality in all parts of the country. It encourages pollution prevention and waste minimization at source and provides for the use of economic incentives and public disclosure to ensure compliance.
The program aims to improve water quality of Priority Rivers and other critical water bodies including lakes and bays through continuous massive clean-up, monitoring of industries and rehabilitation of esteros/rivers through partnership agreements such as the Adopt-an-estero program. Water classification is a very important component of water quality management since the application of effluent standards are dependent on this classification. The classification of waterbodies helps water managers and planners to develop proper water quality management programs and provide the standards to protect aquatic life and human use of specific water bodies. Operationalization of water quality management areas (WQMAs) will also be prioritized.
Disclosure programs such as beachwatch and industrial and industrial ecowatch will be pursued.
Manila Bay, however, is still a serious concern because of its high fecal coliform level. Hence, the Supreme Court issued a continuing mandamus to the DENR, other concerned government agencies and LGUs to clean, rehabilitate and restore Manila Bay and restore its water quality to Class “SB” level that is fit for swimming, skin diving and other forms of contact recreation.