The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and its attached agency, Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), have padlocked five commercial establishments in Pasay City that were found to be discharging untreated wastewater into Manila Bay.

The DENR and LLDA, together with the local government of Pasay City, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and the Philippine National Police Maritime Group (PNPMG), served the cease and desist orders (CDOs) on four restaurants and an auto shop located at HK Sun Plaza along Macapagal Boulevard.

The operation was led by DENR Undersecretaries Benny D. Antiporda and Jim O. Sampulna, and LLDA General Manager Jaime Medina with Pasay City Mayor Imelda G. Calixto-Rubiano, Gen. Alfredo Andres of MMDA, and Police Capt. Randy B. Ludovice of PNPMG.

The five establishments—Zhi-Brothers Restaurant, Ocean Bay Restaurant, Da Rae Jung Korean Restaurant, Song Do Won Restaurant, and BHP1 Autoworks—were cited for violation of Republic Act (RA) 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004.

RA 9275 prohibits discharging or depositing any pollutant to water bodies. It also requires businesses to either put up their own sewage treatment plant (STP) or connect to a wastewater treatment facility authorized by the DENR or LLDA.

A week before the CDOs were issued, the LLDA discovered during inspection that the sewer lines of the five establishments were not connected to the STP of their lessor, HK Sun Plaza.

HK Sun Plaza, which is owned by Social Security System Investment Property Department, has built its own STP worth P10 million in compliance with the CDO issued by the LLDA in February 2019 for its illegal wastewater discharge.

According to Medina, five out of the 48 establishments at HK Sun Plaza were found to be discharging their wastewater to the storm drainage which empties to Libertad Channel and drains into Manila Bay.

Only wastewater that has passed through the STP can be discharged to Libertad Channel.

Meanwhile, Antiporda, DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns, chided the erring establishments for “exceeding what the law has set in terms of the waste they generate.”

“We cannot sacrifice our environment for their business,” Antiporda stressed. “They cannot violate the law and abuse our environment and natural resources for their own gain.”

Antiporda also slammed the establishments for trying to jeopardize the ongoing rehabilitation of Manila Bay. “No matter how much effort we give in cleaning the Manila Bay, nothing will happen if we allow these errant business owners to do what they are doing,” he said.

The DENR official then reminded business owners of their duty to religiously comply with existing environmental laws and regulations.

“We are calling out the attention of business owners, not only around Manila Bay, but all over the country to check on their environmental compliance,” he said, adding that the DENR was willing to provide technical assistance or advice to businesses in complying with environmental rules. #