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Yes, We Can Clean Up Our Country

Manila Bay breakwater after cleanup. Photo: Antonio Jr Ampoan Chua-so/gmanetwork.com
Manila Bay breakwater after cleanup. Photo: Antonio Jr Ampoan Chua-so/gmanetwork.com

udos to Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu who, with the help of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), has managed to clean up sections of Manila Bay. The breakwaters along stretches of Roxas Boulevard have not looked this clean in decades.

It is extremely heartening to see actual progress being made in cleaning up the filth around Metro Manila. By comparison, past efforts to clean up the Pasig River, produced little, if any visible results. The Pasig today appears just as dirty as before.

In fact, the late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago—according to a Manila Bulletin article in 2015 —"filed a resolution asking the Senate to investigate the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) for failing in its mandate to restore the quality of Pasig’s waters.” Bureaucratic red-tape, and intransigence on the part of some businesses and local communities—including informal settlers—have hampered cleanup efforts in the past.

What appears unassailable is the fact that bold measures must be undertaken to stem the tide of garbage and sewage choking the life out of our once beautiful city. Truth be told, almost every one of us living in Metro Manila shares some responsibility for what it and other Philippine cities have become. If a Metro Manila resident is not an active polluter dumping garbage in rivers and esteros, He or she is covering their nose and averting their eyes to the pollution that has been going on around them for decades. For these people, it is always someone else’s problem, not theirs.</span>

Volunteers cleaning up trash along Manila Bay. Photo: Bombona78 - wikimedia.org
Volunteers cleaning up trash along Manila Bay. Photo: Bombona78 – wikimedia.org

We Filipinos take pride in our personal cleanliness and hygiene. Unfortunately, we have fallen short when it comes to the cleanliness of our surroundings. For decades, the once majestic Manila Bay, looked and smelled like a cesspool. It is time we all rolled up our sleeves and—repulsive as it might be—clean up all the filth around our beautiful bay. In addition, we must instill in ourselves and those around us traits and habits that prevent pollution.

Our national hero Jose Rizal called this country “the pearl of the Orient.” We need to make it that once again. So “thank you” Secretary Cimatu, you have shown us that it can be done. We must now follow your lead and continue to clean up our country.</span> Published 2/1/2019

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