CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan — Government officials, as well as ordinary folks, showed their cooperation and support for the rehabilitation of Manila Bay by participating in the “Takbo Para sa Kalikasan 2” run held on Sunday (Nov. 10) at the Bulacan Sports Complex in this city.
The event dubbed as “Philippines Run in Support of the Battle for Manila Bay” was led by Senator Cynthia Villar as keynote speaker; Bulacan Governor Daniel Fernando; Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary Benny Antiporda; Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Assistant Secretary for Special Concerns Marjorie N. Jalosjos; Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Ramon L. Cualoping III, and National Youth Commission (NYC) chairperson Ryan Enriquez.
Jalolos said the run was organized by DILG, in cooperation with the DENR, the provincial government of Bulacan and other government agencies, in a bid to inculcate public awareness in the need for strengthened calls for action over the bay’s rehabilitation.
“We encourage everyone to be serious and support the cleanup of Manila Bay for the next generation, including Bulacan, Bataan, Pampanga, all coastal areas contributing sewage to Manila Bay, not just the National Capital Region (NCR), but all of us. Let’s start with our family, our community and our village,” she said.
“We started the ‘fight’ in Manila Bay but this is not the end of our fight for nature. Let’s start the campaign to protect the environment in our diverse community,” she added.
Jalosjos also said the “Takbo Para sa Kalikasan 2” had the most number of participants compared to the previous event.
Meanwhile, Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, said DILG’s aim for this run was to draw attention and support for the rehabilitation of coastal areas and preservation of water sources and natural resources.
“We are glad to have more and more protectors of Manila Bay, so to speak, who have been very vigilant. Leading the way is the DILG which is among the 13 agencies helping us keep Manila Bay clean. They are being directed by the Supreme Court through a writ of continuing mandamus to rehabilitate, restore and conserve Manila Bay. So, they are called ‘mandamus agencies,’” she added.
Aside from DILG, the other mandamus agencies, Villar said, are the DENR, 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, Philippine Ports Authority, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, and Local Water Utilities Administration.
“We are not doing this for ourselves anymore but for the future generation, for our children and children’s children, especially now that the situation of our natural resources is indeed serious. All over the world, there are a lot of happenings caused by environmental destruction, degradation, and neglect,” Villar said.
Fernando, meanwhile, said the fun run was not only good for the health but also for the environment.
“This fun run is a great idea, great activities because not only will our health be benefited but it will also protect our environment especially the coastal areas by spreading awareness about it,” Fernando said.
For his part, Antiporda asked for the proper regulation of single-use plastic products. “We, at the DENR, will take the path to awaken the sleeping spirit of the people,” he said.
Antiporda also explained that in preparation for the first-year anniversary of the “Battle for Manila Bay” on January 27, 2020, the agency’s strategies are being intensified to make Manila Bay safer like the deployment of tug boats to explore the “waste islands” in the middle of Manila Bay.
Cualoping said the purpose of the event in addition to promoting awareness about the Manila Bay include the presentation of various projects and programs of government agencies for the bay.
All this, he said, is being done by the Duterte administration for the next generation of Filipinos.
In support to the campaign by the Bulacan provincial government, deepening of the rivers has been undertaken, starting in the City of Malolos and Calumpit town. In addition, there are scheduled dredging of major rivers connecting to Manila Bay such as the Bocaue River and the Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando River system by San Miguel Corporation, the contractor for the construction of the New Manila International Airport in Bulakan town.
The 5K U-turn run, on the other hand, ended in Barangay Tikay Elementary School while the 10K U-turn run ended in front of the Bulacan Polytechnic College.
The Philippine Red Cross -Bulacan Chapter and Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office also collaborated in the marathon to ensure the safety of the runners. (RONDA BALITA Online)