The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is hosting a forum for leaders of over 300 barangays surrounding Manila Bay to ensure their commitment to the ongoing effort to rehabilitate the heavily polluted water body.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said the forum aims to remind the barangay executives of their critical role and responsibility in the rehabilitation effort and give them deeper recognition of the advantages their constituents can gain from having clean waterways, especially in terms of health benefits.

“The success of the rehabilitation effort hinges on the support from the local government units (LGUs), particularly the barangays, which are actually the frontliners in the cleanup, rehabilitation and preservation of the waters of Manila Bay,” Cimatu said.

The barangay leaders represent areas that traverse into three important river systems that empty into Manila Bay, such as the Pasig-Marikina-San Juan Rivers (169 barangays), the Muntinlupa-Paranaque-Las Pinas-Zapote Rivers (40 barangays), and the Malabon-Tullahan-Tenejeros Rivers (68 barangays).

Also invited are leaders from 42 barangays in Pasay City and 18 from Navotas City.

During the forum, the DENR will also discuss how these barangays can take part in the upcoming simultaneous cleanup of esteros and waterways set for March 31 as part of the extended observance of the “World Water Day” on March 22.

Cimatu will keynote the event.

Another highlight of the forum will be the dialogue between barangay officials and DENR senior executives, who were each assigned by Cimatu to monitor a specific estero and waterway leading to Manila Bay.

The DENR officials were also tasked to recommend further interventions needed to ensure compliance with the continuing mandamus of the Supreme Court to cleanup, rehabilitate and preserve Manila Bay.

In the dialogue, the DENR will have an opportunity to hear from concerned barangay leaders the problems and issues affecting their specific barangays in relation to the overall effectiveness of the government’s effort to revive Manila Bay. ##