Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan of DENR National Capital Region renewed the call for public participation in the protection and restoration of Manila Bay ecosystems on Tuesday, 10 May 2022.

RED Caancan appealed in time with the celebration of May as the Month of the Ocean under the theme “Protect and restore ecosystems and biodiversity”.

“Protecting and restoring the ecological diversity of Manila Bay will only be successful if, apart from government organizations, people’s organizations are willing contributors to the effort, either by volunteering or initiating cleanup activities of their own in their respective communities”, RED Caancan explained.

A ‘whole-of-nation approach’—one that integrates and coordinates activities of all stakeholders in relation to the cleanup of Manila Bay—is needed to mend the ecological damage Manila Bay has so far sustained because of human activities, the director added.

For the past two years, the regional office has limited the participation of people’s organizations in the cleanup of Manila Bay because of the pandemic. But as Metro Manila eased back to Alert Level 1, DENR National Capital Region has been getting more and more requests from different organizations to join cleanup and tree planting activities.

“It’s good that people are more aware nowadays of their responsibilities as co- stewards of the environment and are more than willing to partner with DENR”, RED Caancan said. “We need to harness this renewed spirit of volunteerism and patriotism, to advance a people’s movement that embodies the ideals of #MANILABAYanihan”.

“We invite organizations to sit down with us and discuss how we can help each other in protecting and restoring the ecosystems of Manila Bay”, RED Caancan appealed.

Manila Bay, according to RED Caancan, is a microcosm of our global ocean ecosystem. “All the essentials of life—water, much of the food we consume, and even the oxygen in the air we breathe—are all ultimately provided and regulated by the sea”, she explained.

As our ocean ecosystems suffer from multiple stressors, RED Caancan stressed that our responses be as varied as well, using integrated both nature and science based- solutions and with citizens as prime movers.

The regional office will be organizing coastal cleanups and other activities to celebrate ocean month and raise public awareness and participation in the protection and restoration of coastal and marine ecosystems. ###