The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has issued an administrative order creating Metropolitan Environmental Offices (MEOs) in the National Capital Region (NCR) to strengthen the enforcement of environmental laws and solid waste management programs for the rehabilitation of Manila Bay.
Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said the DENR field offices in Metro Manila will be transitioning to MEOs and tasked to strictly implement Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 and comply with the Writ of Continuing Mandamus for Manila Bay issued by the Supreme Court in 2008.
"We have to strengthen our field offices to capacitate the local government units (LGUs) and to meet our audacious goals. Also, to take on more challenges that will be on our way this 2022," he said.
Cimatu also expressed hope that the MEOs will "serve as the DENR’s overseer in the different areas of the metro on a micro-level."
"We hope the public would feel the presence of the DENR even in their respective barangays or residences so that they will be reminded of their responsibilities in the proper disposal of their wastes for the greater good of their communities," he pointed out.
Under the DENR administrative order, each MEO will be supervised by an undersecretary, assistant secretary, and director.
The functions of the MEOs include serving as frontline units for the enforcement of environmental laws, rules, and regulations in NCR; intensifying coordination efforts with partner government agencies and non-government organizations in cleaning up the rivers and other water bodies; and capacity-building.
MEOs will also be providing technical assistance to the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, and LGUs in monitoring the quality of water bodies and proper disposal of solid waste in their respective areas of jurisdiction.
The offices are also mandated to coordinate with the Department of Health, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System and water concessionaires, and LGUs to facilitate the completion of a sewerage system and achieve international standards of sanitation in the entire region.
In 2019, the DENR has created four field offices in Metro Manila to strengthen the enforcement of environmental laws in the country’s most densely populated regions and make government services more accessible to the people, particularly those in the NCR. ###
Published: 16 January 2022