Fact checks on public officials

FALSE: Manila Bay rehabilitation project is first attempt to clean it – Moreno

There have been beach cleanups, waste audits, and efforts to clean Manila Bay even before the DENR's 2019 rehabilitation program

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) efforts to clean Manila Bay, including the dumping of dolomite sand along the Manila Baywalk, is the first time in history that anyone attempted to clean the area.

This claim was made by Manila Mayor Isko Moreno in his live press conference on September 4.

Moreno said: “For the first time in history, somebody attempted na tanggalin ang dumi sa (to remove trash from) Manila Bay. The national government through Department of Environment and Natural Resources, through Secretary [Roy] Cimatu, and the local government – in our own little way, kung ano ‘yung kapasidad namin, itinutulong namin (we do what we can in our own capacity).”

Rating: FALSE
The facts:

There have been previous beach cleanups, waste audits, and other efforts to clean Manila Bay before the DENR’s latest project, which kicked off in 2019.

For years, both the government and non-governmental organizations have led initiatives for Manila Bay.

In 1999, a group of concerned citizens filed a lawsuit against the government to clean up the bay. In 2008, the petitioners won. The Supreme Court’s decision ordered 13 government agencies to clean up, rehabilitate, and preserve Manila Bay to make its waters fit for swimming, skin diving, and other forms of contact recreation. These government agencies were:

  • Metropolitan Manila Development Authority
  • Department of Environment and Natural Resources
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Health
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Public Works and Highways
  • Department of Budget and Management
  • Philippine Coast Guard
  • Philippine National Police Maritime Group
  • Department of the Interior and Local Government
  • Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System
  • Local Water Utilities Administration
  • Philippine Ports Authority

Groups like EcoWaste Coalition, Greenpeace, and Mother Earth Foundation have also been collecting the trash in Manila Bay and conducting audits on the kind of garbage found there since 2006.

The Land Bank of the Philippines’ Manila Bay SUNSET Partnership Program has been organizing cleanup activities in the area every year since 2003. According to its website, the program organized 9 cleanups in 2017 alone.

Rappler reached out to the Manila Public Information Office, but it did not comment on Moreno’s statement. – Vernise Tantuco/Rappler.com

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