The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has gained another partner in the effort to rehabilitate Manila Bay after Rotary International District (RID) 3780 agreed to clean up important waterways in Quezon City that drain into the heavily polluted bay.

RID 3780, which is composed of all 104 Rotary clubs in Quezon City, recently signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the DENR for the cleanup of 118 kilometers of waterways within four Quezon City watersheds, covering 14,700 hectares, under the agency’s “Adopt-An-Estero” program.

This covers areas around Barangay Culiat, the vicinities affecting the Pasong Tamo Creek and the Tullahan-Tinajeros River, and several more areas connected with those waterways.

According to DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, the DENR-Rotary partnership will be “a great help in achieving the goals and targets of the Manila Bay rehabilitation program.”

“We are recognizing the role of the private and community sectors when it comes to forging partnerships with them. Without their assistance, we would not be able to achieve a cleaner and safer metropolitan environment,” said Cimatu, who signed the MOA in behalf of the DENR.

RID 3780 officials led by their District Governor Pastor Mar Reyes Jr. also signed the MOA during the local celebration of Earth Day held at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife last April 24.  

Under the MOA, the DENR agreed to provide RID 3780 with technical assistance in reducing pollution in areas covered by the agreement, including strict implementation of the solid waste management law, water quality monitoring, coordination with the local government, and assistance in conducting environmental education activities.

RID 3780, on the other hand, would make sure that each Rotary Club will have a private sector partner-stakeholder that will assist in the implementation of the program through the use of their corporate social responsibility funds.

The organization will also work toward fostering harmonious relationship with the affected communities, expanding the length of the cleanup sites, and replicating the endeavor to other watersheds in Metro Manila.

Established in 2010, the Adopt-an-Estero or Water Body Program is a collaborative undertaking between and among the estero community, donor-partner, local government units, other government agencies and the DENR. 

The program is a response to the continuing mandamus by the Supreme Court for agencies led by the DENR to clean up Manila Bay, particularly through the esteros and waterways that flow directly to the historic bay.

Earlier this year, President RodrigoRoaDuterte ordered a cleanup of Manila and warned establishments surrounding the water body to comply with environmental laws or face closure.

As a response, the DENR launched the “Battle for Manila Bay”, a three-phase program to clean and rehabilitate the bay with the primary goal of reducing the 330 million most probable number (MPN)/100milliliters (ML) of fecal coliform down to 270 MPN or lesser to meet the standard of 100MPN/100ML. ###