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President Rodrigo Duterte said the government would start cleaning the heavily polluted Manila Bay, also he ordered hotel owners in the area to install water treatment systems or face closure.
President Duterte said he already instructed Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año to start the cleanup.
“That’s why I told General Cimatu and General Año, ‘You start cleaning the Manila Bay.’ They will start to clean it,” he said in a speech during the Barangay Summit on Peace and Order in Pasay City.
He also warned hotels near the Manila Bay to ensure that they have their own water treatment facilities for the proper disposal of waste material.
“Put water treatment [facilities] in your hotels or else I will close you. Do not dare me,” he said.
The President said he is not afraid to lose tourists if these hotels are closed for violating environmental laws.
“If there are no tourists, then so be it. We will not die. You do something about your waste there or otherwise I will close it. That’s for sure,” he said.
The President cringed at the idea of people swimming at the polluted bay.
“Is that the way you do it? You swim among the germs of humanity?” he asked.
Some 5,000 volunteers gathered on Sunday at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila for a solidarity walk to signify the start of the Manila Bay rehabilitation efforts.
Multi-sectorial groups, stakeholders, officials and personnel of government agencies, religious groups, academe, students, civic and other non-government organizations attended the event to show their cooperation in the Save Manila Bay project.
DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu led the walk, together with Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, Acting Information and Communications Technology Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr., Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Danilo Lim.
The walk ended at the Rajah Sulayman Park, where the officials gave their keynote messages and urged the public to further support the project.