The “Battle for Manila Bay” – San Juan River Cleanup, whereby the Forest Management Bureau through its Forest Resources Conservation Division (FRCD) gave its full support, was one of the simultaneous cleanup activities undertaken on March 31, 2019 along with those in San Juan and Quezon City. The activity, which was conducted in Barangay 598 and participated in by volunteers from 13 other barangays in Sta. Mesa, Manila City, generated a collection of 71 sacks of garbage that weighed 3,550 kilograms from the surrounding area of San Juan Bridge to Sevilla Bridge, the streets near the dike and the river itself. This accomplishment forms part of the total two million kilograms of collected garbage that involved 5, 700 barangays from the three convergence areas that are part of the San Juan River System.
FMB Director Nonito M. Tamayo and Barangay Captain Paulito Linis, both of whom emphasized the importance of cleanliness and the participation of communities, led the cleanup activity in Barangay 598.
In his short briefing, Brgy. Captain Linis stressed the significance of cleaning the San Juan River to the rehabilitation of the Manila Bay. Considered the dirtiest river in Metro Manila, it is one of the tributary rivers connected to Manila Bay. He capped his briefing with a call to actively participate in the activity and to support other future community initiatives to make the rehabilitation of the Manila Bay a success.
For his part, Director Tamayo who delivered a message on behalf of Secretary Roy Cimatu, reiterated the important role of barangays as front liners in the success of rehabilitating the Manila Bay. Communities should make an effort to keep their surroundings, the rivers, tributaries and estuaries clean because they are directly affected by the kind of environment that the area has. This was followed by the recital of the Pledge of Commitment led by barangay captains who were present.
The FMB-FRCD delegation then joined the rest of the DENR cleanup participants and volunteers for the closing program that was held at Doña Imelda, Q.C. and attended by DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, DILG Secretary Eduardo Ano and MMDA Chairperson Danilo Lim, all of whom acknowledged the importance of the involvement of the youth and people in communities with regard to proper waste management.
Staff Bureau Assistant Secretary Ricardo Calderon, Field Operations—Northern Luzon Assistant Secretary Joselin Marcus Fragada and Solid Waste Management and Local Government Unit Concerns Undersecretary Benny Antiporda were also present in the event.
FMB Director Nonito Tamayo picks up a sack of soil in an accumulation of waste found in an area in the dike along San Juan River. Photo courtesy of: FRCD.
FRCD volunteers drop the sacks of garbage collected in the cleanup drive in an area for collection. Photo courtesy of: FRCD.