DENR-NCR Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan visited and checked on the status of Manila Bay on Thursday, 20 August 2020. She was accompanied by her Assistant Regional Directors Al O. Orolfo for Management Services and Engr. Ignacio R. Almira, Jr. for Technical Services. Atty. Alvin Constantino, Licenses, Patents, and Deeds Division Chief and concurrent Chief Environmental Officer of DENR-NCR West Field Office (WFO), and Ms. Haidee D. Pabalate, focal for the Manila Bay Site Coordinating/Management Office (MBSCMO-NCR).

Director Caancan inspected the entire stretch of the Manila baywalk area—starting from the US Embassy to the Manila Yacht Club—and including the back of the CCP Complex in Pasay City. She visited the area to verify reports of water hyacinths and other wastes slowly accumulating in the area. While her visit she confirmed the said reports—Director Caancan explains that the presence of trash in the area is partly due to the onset of the rainy season and southwest monsoon (hanging habagat).

Also, efforts to regularly clean the region’s coastal areas have been made difficult due to the on-going public health crisis affecting us. “As we can no longer do cleanups the way we did during pre-COVID times, we need to carefully redesign our strategy of cleaning our shores and adapt to the ‘new normal’ as we also need to ensure that we do not compromise the health of our workers while they are out in the field’, Director Caancan emphasized.

Despite the challenges, Director Caancan remains thankful that local government units (LGUs) have been active in doing cleanups in waterways within their respective jurisdictions. “We have even received reports about river and estero cleanups conducted by barangays and national government agencies even during GCQ”, Director Caancan added. She said that the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) have been strong partners of DENR in coastal cleanups.

In 2019, DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu launched the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program, a multi-sectoral effort to clean and rehabilitate the Manila Bay in pursuant with the Writ of Continuing Mandamus issued by the Supreme Court.