Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has given the go signal for the hiring of at least 2,000 estero rangers who will help local government units (LGUs) within and near Manila Bay to address indiscriminate waste disposal and improve garbage collection within their respective jurisdictions.

Cimatu made the announcement himself in a recent meeting with senior officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) whom he assigned as “river commanders” to oversee rehabilitation activities under the so-called “Battle for Manila Bay.”

“We would like to impress upon the public that we really need to overhaul the disposal system in Metro Manila, make it efficient and for the public to stop dumping trash into our waterways,” Cimatu, head of the inter-agency Manila Bay Task Force, said.

The DENR chief said that two estero rangers will be initially deployed to 711 barangays where there are alleys traversed by esteros and not reached by garbage trucks. These alleys are mostly populated by informal settler families.

Cimatu said he already gave a directive to look into the possibility of increasing the number of estero rangers to at least 2,000, so that four may be deployed to each barangay.

The estero rangers are endorsed by their barangay officials in coordination with the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

Under the contract, an estero ranger gets a monthly salary of P8,500 for a five-day work week schedule. He or she is tasked to conduct removal of garbage from esteros fitted with trash traps and house-to-house garbage collection in selected alleys for transfer and storage at pickup points accessible to garbage trucks.

The estero rangers will be commissioned on November 15 at the DENR central office grounds in Quezon City.

At least 203 creeks and waterways traversing the 711 barangays will be serviced by the estero rangers.

Cimatu’s move to hire estero rangers addresses the dumping of garbage in esteros which the environment chief observed to have been partly due to the non-collection of garbage from informal family settlers living in narrow alleys near esteros.

Section 17 (c) of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 provides that garbage collection should be in accordance with the approved local government management plan, which takes into account the “geographic subdivisions to define the coverage or the solid waste collection area in every barangay.” ###