Gov’t to enforce waterway easement in Manila Bay

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MANILA – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will clear the banks of Manila Bay’s tributaries and “esteros” to facilitate the collection of garbage and to improve water quality.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said there is a need to remove structures encroaching on the easement so waste collectors can easily access and gather garbage in and along the tributaries and “esteros”.

“It’s the strategy we’ll be doing before we can say Manila Bay is clean,” Cimatu said on Thursday at the sidelines of the signing of a memorandum of agreement with private firm Aboitiz Group for a three-year partnership on rehabilitating San Juan River, one of the bays’ tributaries.

The river flows through Quezon, San Juan, Manila and Mandaluyong cities before emptying into the Pasig River, which discharges into Manila Bay.

He reminded local government units having jurisdiction over Manila Bay’s tributaries and “esteros” to ensure the regular collection of garbage.

Based on Presidential Decree 1067 or the Water Code of the Philippines, banks of rivers and streams — as well as shores of seas and lakes “throughout their entire length and within a zone of three meters in urban areas, 20 meters in agricultural areas and forty meters in forest areas, along their margins are subject to the easement of public use in the interest of recreation, navigation, floatage, fishing and salvage.”

“No person shall be allowed to stay in this zone longer than what is necessary for recreation, navigation, floatage, fishing or salvage or to build structures of any kind,” the law also reads.

The DENR kicked off Manila Bay’s rehabilitation in January 2019.(PNA)

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