(SALUTATIONS)

ON JANUARY 27 LAST YEAR, WE MADE HISTORY WHEN WE LAUNCHED OUR BATTLE FOR MANILA BAY. DURING THE LAUNCH, AROUND 10,000 PEOPLE FROM DIFFERENT GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, NON-GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATIONS, PRIVATE SECTORS, STUDENTS, AND EVEN FOREIGNERS MANIFESTED THEIR SUPPORT TO SAVE MANILA BAY.

TODAY, JANUARY 26, 2020, A YEAR AFTER OUR LAUNCH, I AM SURE MANY OF YOU ARE ASKING, ‘ARE WE REALLY WINNING THE BATTLE FOR MANILA BAY?’

SINCE WE ARE ALREADY COMMEMORATING THE FIRST YEAR OF THE MASSIVECLEAN-UP AND REHABILITATION OF THIS HISTORIC BAY, I DARE SAY AND ANSWER THEN, ‘YES, WE ARE WINNING.’

THE RESULTS MAY LOOK MODEST, BUT LET US CELEBRATEON A HIGH NOTE BECAUSE WE HAVE SUCCEEDED IN GAINING POPULAR SUPPORT WHILE SUSTAINING MOMENTUM OF ALL OUR STAKEHOLDERS.

LET ME TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO THANK EVERYONEWHOHAS VOLUNTEERED TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS TEDIOUS YET CHALLENGING TASK OF RESTORING THEOLD BEAUTY AND GRANDEUR OF MANILA BAY.

IN RETROSPECT, WE HAVE MUCH TO BE THANKFUL FOR. PEROKUNG MARAMI TAYONG DAPAT IPAGPASALAMAT, MAS MARAMING TAO TAYONG DAPAT PASALAMATAN.

GIVEN THE MAGNITUDE OF THE TASK OF REMOVING SEVERAL DECADES’ WORTH OF POLLUTION AND SILT FROM MANILA BAY, IT MAY TAKE A WHILEBEFORE WE FINALLY DECLARE THAT MANILA BAY IS SAVED // THAT OUR JOB IS DONE.

WE ARE ALMOST SAVING MANILA BAY AND CLEAN IT FURTHER FOR OUR NEXT GENERATION.

SOME PEOPLE TEND TO OVERLOOK THE ACHIEVEMENTS THAT WE HAVE PAINSTAKINGLY BEEN BUILDING UP. BUT WITH CONTINUED INTER-AGENCY COOPERATIONAND SUPPORT OF THE CIVIL SOCIETY, COMMUNITIES AND THE PRIVATE SECTORS, WE WILL EVENTUALLY PREVAIL.

AS I AM PROUD OF HOW FAR WE HAVE GONEIN TERMS OF OUR CLEANUP AND REHABILITAION EFFORTS, ALLOW ME TO MENTION SOME OF THEM AND THE PEOPLE BEHIND OUR SMALL VICTORIES.

WE HAVE INSPECTED AND MONITORED COMMERCIAL ESTABLISHMENTS FOR THE QUALITY OF THE EFFLUENTS THEY DISCHARGE. AS A RESULT, MORE THAN A HUNDRED CEASE-AND-DESIST ORDERSWERE ISSUED.

DURING YEAR 1 OF OUR BATTLE, THE DENR, ALONG WITH THE METROPOLITAN MANILA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, AND DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS, COLLECTIVELY SHARED THE TASK OF CLEANING UP THE WATERWAYS.

WE WERE ABLE TO MOBILIZE ALMOST 90,000 VOLUNTEERS IN COLLECTING WASTES ALONG THE BAY AND OTHER BODIES OF WATER DRAINING INTO IT. ANG MGA VOLUNTEERS NATIN AY GALING SA IBA’T IBANG ORGANISASYON, MGA KABATAAN, ESTUDYANTE, AT KOMUNIDAD.

A NUMBER OF MAJOR CORPORATIONS IN THE COUNTRY HAVE ALSO JOINED OUR BATTLE. THE FACT THAT WE GOT PEOPLE AND REPUTABLE ORGANIZATIONSTO JOIN USIN OUR CLEANUP OPERATIONS IS A CLEAR INDICATION THAT PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT THE REHABILITATION OF MANILA BAY IS NECESSARY AND IMPORTANT AND THEY TRUST THE GOVERNMENT, OUR PRESIDENT, AND HIS ADMINISTRATION, LEADING THIS BATTLE.

IN THE SEWERAGE AND SANITATION WORK, THE METROPOLITAN WATERWORKS AND SEWERAGE SYSTEM THROUGH ITS CONCESSIONAIRES, CONNECTED ALMOST 25 PERCENT OF THE WATER-SERVED POPULATION OF METRO MANILA TO THE SEWER SYSTEM.

IT HAS ALSOOFFERED SANITATION SERVICES TO 42 PERCENT OF CUSTOMERS IN METRO MANILA AND 44 PERCENT IN REGION 4-A.

AN ADDITIONAL 171 WATER QUALITY MONITORING STATIONS WERE SET UP IN METRO MANILA.

TWO WATERWAYS, BOTH IN MANILA, HAVE BEEN CLEARED -- THE ESTERO DE SAN ANTONIO DE ABAD, WITH 61 FAMILIES RELOCATED TO TALA, CALOOCAN CITY, AND THE ESTERO DE MAGDALENA, WITH 198 FAMILIES RELOCATED TO TRECE MARTIREZ, CAVITE.

VULNERABLE AREAS WERE ALSO IDENTIFIED AND IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS WILL BE VEGETATED WITH MANGROVE, GUYABANO, LANGKA, BAYABAS, LEPOTE, AGOHO AND NIPA.

EARLIER THIS MORNING, WE HAD A CEREMONIAL “SWITCH ON”OF THE SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT FOR THE OUTFALLS DRAINING INTO MANILA BAY. ITO AY NAPAKALAKING HAKBANG PATUNGO SA PAGDALOY NG MALINIS NA TUBIG PAPUNTANG MANILA BAY. //

BUT HOW DO WE REALLY CONVINCE PEOPLETHAT INDEED WE ARE ON THE RIGHT TRACK // IN OUR REHABILITATION EFFORTS? // WHEN WE STARTED OUR BATTLE FOR MANILA BAY, // WATER QUALITY TAKEN IN VARIOUS OUTFALLS AROUND MANILA BAY // REGISTERED BILLIONS OF COLIFORM COUNT. //
NOW, THE LEVEL HAS SUBSTANTIALLY GONE DOWN. NAPAKASIMPLENG PARAAN NG PAGPAPATUNAY NA UNTI-UNTI TAYONG PATUNGO SA ATING NAIS MARATING.

FOR EDUCATION AND SUSTAINMENT, WE CONDUCTED LECTURES, CONSULTATIONS AND EVENTSTO NEARLY 9,000 PARTICIPANTS.

WE ALSO HEAVILY EMBARKED ON INFORMATION,EDUCATION, AND COMMUNICATION CAMPAIGN. WE HAD TO DO THIS TO CHANGE THE MINDSET OF PEOPLE ESPECIALLY THOSE LIVING ALONG OR NEAR THE ESTEROS.

WE MUST UNDERSTAND THAT OURI-E-C CAMPAIGN IS A CRUCIAL COMPONENT OF OUR BATTLE FOR MANILA BAY. THIS IS BECAUSEWENEED TO CHANGE THE CULTURE OF THE FILIPINOS. WE NEED TO CHANGE OUR BEHAVIOR AND THIS CHANGE SHOULD START AT HOME.

IT IS HIGHTIME THAT PARENTS TEACH THEIR CHILDREN ABOUT OUR LOVE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT.

WE NEED EVERYONE TO EMBRACE AND OWN THIS PROGRAM, THE BATTLE FOR MANILA BAY, BECAUSE THIS IS NOT JUST A BODY OF WATER THAT NEEDS TO STAY ALIVE, HEALTHY, AND PRODUCTIVE. IT IS ALSO THE NATION’S BASTION OF COURAGE AND BRAVERY.

YES, OTHERS MAY CONSIDER OUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS SMALL VICTORIES, BUT I AM PROUD TO SAY THAT WE HAVE DONE OUR WORK WITH PASSION AND DETERMINATION.

MARAMI PA TAYONG KAILANGANG GAWINPARA MASABING TAGUMPAY ANG ATING SINIMULANG TRABAHO. MALAYO PA ANG ATING LALAKBAYIN UPANG MASABING PANALO NA TAYO SA LABAN. BUT, WITH YOUR RELENTLESS SUPPORT, WE WILL ULTIMATELY WIN OUR BATTLE FOR MANILA BAY IN THE COMING YEARS.

ANG LAHAT NG ITO AY ATING GINAGAWA PARA SA BAYAN, PARA SA MGA SUSUNOD NATING HENERASYON, AT PARA NA RIN SA ATING MGA SARILI.

ANG PAGBALIK NG MANILA BAY SA DATI NIYANG LINIS AT GANDAAY HINDI IMPOSIBLE! ITULOY PO NATIN ANG LABAN!

MARAMING SALAMAT PO AT MABUHAY TAYONG LAHAT!