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The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is requiring all establishments within Manila Bay area to build their own sewage treatment plants (STPs) or connect to existing sewer lines to ensure that the wastewater they produce is properly collected and treated.

The Memorandum Circular 2019-01 issued by DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu covers all government facilities, subdivisions, condominiums, commercial centers, hotels, sports and recreational facilities, hospitals, market places, public buildings, industrial complex, and other similar establishments within the Manila Bay area. This encompasses the entire bay coastline of 190 kilometers and total drainage area of about 17,540 square kilometers in National Capital Region, Region III, and Region IV-A.

In a press release, Cimatu noted that the circular follows the provisions of the Philippine Clean Water Act and President Rodrigo Duterte’s Administrative Order No. 16 titled “Expediting the Rehabilitation and Restoration of the Coastal and Marine Ecosystem of the Manila Bay and creating the Manila Bay Task Force”.

President Duterte last January already warned the hotels near Manila Bay of closure if they do not build their own wastewater treatment system. “Lagyan ninyo ng water treatment [system] ‘yang hotel niyo, ‘pag hindi, sarahan ko ‘yan. Huwag mo akong hamunin. Eh kung wala tayong turista, eh ‘di wala. Hindi naman tayo mamamatay. You do something about your waste there or otherwise I will close it. Sigurado ‘yan.”

The DENR in the same month formally launched the Manila Bay rehabilitation project which aims to bring down the bay’s coliform level to a degree that is fit for swimming, skin diving, and other water activities.

The agency last March 19 also launched a series of seminars to help public and private establishments understand and comply with environmental laws and standards.