The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has partnered with the Pollution Control Association of the Philippines Inc. (PCAPI) to clean-up Estero de Marala that drains into the Manila Bay.

The 2.7-kilometer Estero de Marala is located on the boundary of the cities of Navotas and Manila. It is linked to the Estero de Vitas in the south, Estero de Maypad in the north, and Estero de Maypajo in the east.

During the signing of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the DENR and PCAPI, Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu underscored the importance of collaboration among the national government agencies, non-government organizations (NGOs), local government units (LGUs) and the community in rehabilitating Manila Bay and its tributaries.

“The parties to this (MOA) will develop a comprehensive program to reduce the degradation of this estero. But because this estero is linked to other water bodies, their cleanup, too, will be part of the equation,” Cimatu pointed out.

“That will also require coordination with other barangays and LGUs, and the communities along the banks of these water bodies,” he added.

For her part, PCAPI president Engr. Gretchen Fontejon-Enarle acknowledged that environmental protection is not only the duty of the government, but all stakeholders.

“This partnership signifies the importance, the essence of PCAPI, and hoping it will become a benchmark for other associations and organizations to do the same and take part in different environmental advocacies in order to address current environmental issues,” she said.

PCAPI is a non-stock, non-profit and non-government organization formed in June 1980 to work hand in hand with the government in the protection of the environment, and prevention, abatement and control of land, air, and water pollution.

The NGO adopted Estero de Marala under the DENR’s Enhanced Adopt-an-Estero program, which aims to collaborate between and among estero communities, donor partners, local government units, other government agencies, and the DENR.

Under the MOA, the parties agree to develop a comprehensive program intended to reduce the possible degradation of Estero de Marala, coordinate with each other during the term of the agreement and participate in regular planning and implementation of meetings, and validate how many informal settlers are living in the area.

They also agree to determine the necessity and extent of the plan for the cleanup, dredging, and desilting of selected rivers, as the interventions are introduced to improve Estero de Marala.

Responsibilities of the DENR include ensuring the measures are applied to reduce possible pollution in the estero; providing guidance to the adopters and in the LGU in undertaking monthly water quality monitoring of the adopted water body; providing technical assistance, information and education for the community, and intensifying the monitoring of the industrial and commercial establishments. ###