The government has awarded outstanding cities and municipalities for their contributions to rehabilitate and protect the Manila Bay watershed and for being compliant with the Philippine Fisheries Code.
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. the eight local government units (LGUs) receiving the Manila BaYani Awards and Incentives and five recognized through Fisheries Compliance Audit are testaments to their efforts to protect the country’s body of water and natural resources.
The DILG chief urged LGUs to continue protecting the coastal areas and aquatic resources, saying “there’s more to be done, especially in the face of climate change.”
Among the MBAI awardees for 2018 to 2020 are Baliuag (Bulacan), Kalayaan (Laguna), and Magallanes (Cavite) for the Municipal category; while Balanga (Bataan), Biñan (Laguna), Imus (Cavite), Makati City, and Navotas City bagged the award for the City category.
For the year 2021, the local governments of Biñan and Kalayaan (Laguna), Baliuag (Bulacan), and Balanga (Bataan) were recognized anew for the MBAI Award.
The MBAI Award aims to incentivize LGUs and recognize their exemplary performance in advancing effective waste management, uplifting the welfare, safety, and living conditions of informal settler families and the general public, promoting the protection of coastal and marine
resources, and strengthening their institutional mechanisms, all of which contribute to the rehabilitation and protection of Manila Bay.
In his speech, Abalos reported the significant gains in improving the water quality of Manila Bay, particularly the fecal coliform level indicating its level of contamination from sewage. He said that from 92 million most probable number per 100 millimeters (mpn/100ml) fecal
coliform level in the Manila Bay waters in 2019, it decreased to only 1.8 million mpn/100ml as of June 2022.
The DILG reported the 10.6 million kilograms of waste collected during the rehabilitation and clean-up operations from January to March 2022, in which 6,022 barangays and 187 cities and municipalities participated.
“This is a clear manifestation of what unity could do. If we’re all just united in our goal and our ways. Let’s rid our jurisdictions of bad practices, injustices, inequality and heedless dominion over our planet and its resources. Let’s have a dream which is to recover not just in terms of economy, but to recover better as one in the preservation of our Mother Earth for the good not only of ourselves but for our children and their children,” he urged the LGUs.
The MBAI awardees shall receive cash incentives of up to P1.5-million which can be used for financing programs, projects, and activities (PPAs) serving to increase the compliance of the LGUs with the Manila Bay Clean-up, Rehabilitation, and Preservation Program (MBCRPP) and for service payments.
Meanwhile, Abalos said the FishCA awardees for 2020 to 2021 are Naic, Cavite; Tanza, Cavite; Pilar, Bataan; Sasmuan, Pampanga; and, Balanga, Bataan. Similarly, he said, cash incentives of up to P1-million will be awarded to the winners which they can utilize to implement PPAs that contribute to enhancing the management of municipal waters or coastal areas.
The FishCA is a pioneering monitoring tool to supervise coastal LGUs’ compliance with the Philippine Fisheries Code or Republic Act No. 8550 as amended by Republic Act 10654.