(left photo) ERDB employees together with the Philippine Army Reserve Command (ARESCOM) during the cleanup drive in Saran River, Brgy. Anos, Los Banos, Laguna. (right photo) The ERDB employees during the opening ceremonies in Brgy, Malinta Elementary School, Los Banos Laguna

As part of the kick-off event of the “Battle for Manila Bay” cleanup drive, the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB), together with multi-sectorial groups and volunteers in CALABARZON joined the Saran River Clean-Up drive on January 27, 2019 at Brgys. Anos and Malinta, Los Banos Laguna. The ERDB staff totaled 79 composed of 44 men and 35 women.

PENRO Lalakay of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) CALABARZON spearheaded a short program which was held at the Malinta Elementary School. The activity aimed to rehabilitate Manila Bay dubbed as “Manila Bay Bayanihan para sa Kalinisan” which involved  some key officials (PENRO Ronilo Salac, CENRO Victor Mercado of Sta Cruz, Laguna, ERDB Assistant Director Bighani M. Manipula, Governor Ramil Hernandez and Mayor Cesar Perez) and volunteers from the local government units and communities. The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), 4th Regional Community Defense Group and ARESCOM, Los Banos and  Emergency Team, Infantry Philippine Army, FARM-C Los Banos also  joined this activity.

ERDB Assistant Director Manipula expressed his hope for a continuous collective effort and commitment of the individuals, barangays, LGUs, and concerned government offices to save Manila Bay with sustained efforts to rehabilitate all rivers and its tributaries. He said “Umaasa kami na tayo ay magtulong-tulong upang ang sinisimulan nating laban sa  Manila Bay ay maging matagumpay”.

This cleanup was simultaneously conducted with the massive ongoing activities in Roxas Boulevard and some parts of Southern Luzon. The goal of this activity is to sustain the rehabilitation of Manila Bay and its “esteros”. It also aimed to clean the coastlines as well as relocate the informal settlers nearby the bay and with the commitment of the establishments to put up sewage treatment plants. Aurora S. Jose and Mussenda G. Sabarias, TTD