DENR National Capital Region honored 32 partner organizations during the first-ever MANILA BAYanihan Stakeholders’ Recognition Ceremony held on Friday, 17 December 2021, at the Park Inn Hotel North EDSA in Quezon City.

The ceremony, held in time with the celebration of National Volunteers Month (NVM), formally recognizes the contributions of different organizations—government agencies, local government units (LGUs), private companies, and civil society organizations (CSOs)—to, among others, the on-going Manila Bay rehabilitation program of the regional office.

Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan, together with Assistant Regional Directors, Dr. Al O. Orolfo for Management Services, Engr. Ignacio R. Almira, Jr. for Technical Services, and Dir. Hiro V. Masuda of SCIS DENR Central Office led the awarding of Plaques of Recognition and tokens of appreciation.

In her welcome address, Director Caancan personally thanked the awardees for their support in the projects, programs, and activities of the regional office, foremost of which is the cleanup and rehabilitation of Manila Bay. She said the awardees exemplified the true meaning of “bayanihan”, that is, as “volunteers” and as “heroes”.

“Sa amin pong pananaw, kayong lahat ay mga tunay na Bayani ng Manila Bay (In our eyes, you are the true heroes of Manila Bay)", Director Caancan said. She also noted that the organizations present during the ceremony represent but a small part of the number of individuals, groups, and organizations who volunteered or offered their help to the regional office since the launch of the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program in 2019.

“There really has been a surge in the number of people and organizations who expressed interest and willingness to participate in our cleanup and tree planting activities, including the implementation of environmental projects, but then the pandemic happened”, Director Caancan explained. “We do not want to risk our partners and volunteers to risk their lives”, she added.  This notable rise in the number of volunteer groups and individuals, according to Director Caancan, goes to prove that DENR is winning the support of the people in the governance of the environment and natural resources of Metro Manila.

“We have to give credit to our Secretary, Hon. Roy A. Cimatu for the growing public support to DENR’s program, his strong leadership, and political will led to the resurgence of trust of the people to the agency”, Director Caancan emphasized.

This year’s MANILA BAYanihan awardees include the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) of the Department of Agriculture, Philippine National Police-NCRPO, National Center for Mental Health (NCMH), the local governments of Makati and Pateros, and the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Federation of Navotas City and SK of Payatas, Quezon City. Also recognized, from the academe sector, are the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Unibersidad de Manila, the Schools Division Office (SDO) of Marikina, Muntinlupa and Pasay, Doña Pilar Gonzaga Elementary School, Kasarinlan Elementary School, Kasarinlan High School, Malabon Elementary School, Ninoy Aquino Elementary School, and San Francisco Elementary School.

Awardees from the private sector include the Asian Terminals. Inc. (ATI), Basic Environmental Systems and Technologies, Inc. (BEST), Envirokonsult Equipment & Services, Inc. Megaworld Corporation, International Container Terminals Services, Inc., SM Primeholdings, Inc., Water Environment Association of the Philippines. Inc. and Vista Real Classica Homeowners Association.

Meanwhile, the Boy Scouts of the Philippines-Manila, Rotary Club of Rockwell Makati, Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands (SCWP), Villar Sipag Foundation, Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, and Wild Bird Photographers of the Philippines, are among the awardees from the civil society sector.