Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau convenes mandamus government agencies to determine all available information about the status of Manila Bay. The stock-taking review workshop was held last Feb 1-2, 2018 at Richmonde Hotel, Eastwood, Quezon City and was attended by representatives from 27 government agencies.

The Manila Bay Coordinating Office (MBCO) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) sought the assistance of DENR’s research arm, the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB), headed by Director Henry A. Adornado, to conduct a 15-month project to organize and update all existing biophysical information about the Manila Bay Area. Part of the project is a vulnerability assessment study of the coastal and watershed areas in Manila Bay against selected environmental hazards.

Usec. Maria Paz Luna of the DENR, In-charge of Manila Bay and Water-Related Concerns of the Department graced the occasion and emphasized the seriousness and urgency of the problem.

According to Dr. Carmelita Villamor, Chief of the Coastal Zone and Freshwater Ecosystems Research Division of ERDB and also project lead, the workshop provided an avenue for the 160 representatives from 27 agencies, tasked by the Supreme Court to clean up and rehabilitate the Manila Bay aka Mandamus Agencies, to determine the available information at hand which will be crucial in rehabilitating Manila Bay.

Dr. Henry A. Adornado, ERDB Director said that issues discussed and clarified during the workshop include availability, location and access of data and information on the management of solid and liquid wastes, habitat and resources, informal settler families and governance. At the moment, the available information identified by the mandamus agencies will serve as baseline information to the ERDB Study Team in organising all the available information in each of the mandamus agencies.

“Baseline data and information will be crucial in monitoring the progress of the implementation of the newly adopted Operational Plan for the Manila Bay Coastal Strategy (OPMBCS) 2017-2022”, said Dr. Adornado. “To make sound decisions and policies for the Manila Bay Area, updated and consolidated science-based information is crucial to identify and address current and potential issues and problems”, he added.

Dr. Bighani Manipula, ERDB Assistant Director, underscored the role of science-based information in crafting the needed policies and programs that are in line with the required efforts to bring back the former state of Manila Bay.

Another series of workshops, similar in aim to the workshop for Mandamus agencies, are planned for the coastal LGUs within the MBA on February 7-8, 2018 (Region 3) and February 13-14 (NCR and Region 4A).

The mandamus agencies are divided into five clusters: 1) Liquid Waste Management headed by EMB-DENR, 2) Solid Waste Management headed by DILG, 3) Informal Settler Families and Illegal Structures headed by DILG, 4) Habitat and Resources Management headed by DENR-BMB, and 5) Institutional Arrangement/Partnership and Governance headed by MBCO.