Senate aspirant RJ Javellana on Wednesday said cleanup drives will not be enough to rehabilitate Manila Bay as they do not address the root cause of the problem — the absence of a proper sewerage and sanitation system in Metro Manila.
Interviewed on Dobol B sa News TV’s Ikaw Na Ba? series of senatorial interviews, Javellana, who heads the Water For All Refund Movement, said it was wastewater from Metro Manila residences that poisoned Manila Bay.
Still, he commended the efforts of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for rehabilitating the Manila Bay, but suggested to the agency to address the "root" of the water pollution.
"Saludo naman tayo doon sa aksyon ng DENR, pero sana huwag lang pong pag-initan yung nandoon sa gilid," he said.
"Dapat ugatin nila yung main problem which is yung implementer nitong sewerage and sanitation na nasa ilalaim ng MWSS (Metropolitan Waterworks And Sewerage System) at itong dalawang kompanya ng oligarko na ito."
According to Javellana, Maynilad and Manila Water have an obligation to provide sewerage and sanitation system because, he said, consumers paid them for it.
"Mahigit po sa 20 percent kada buwan ang sinisingil nila sa atin para gumawa ng sewerage at sanitation..kaya namamatay si Pasig River, Tulyahan River, mga estero papunta po ng Manila Bay yan," he said.
He claimed that around two million houses around Metro Manila are polluting Manila Bay due to the absence of a sewerage and sanitation system.
Javellana also said that the fund collected from sewerage and sanitation system fees amounts to billions of pesos.
“Nagbabayad po tayo. Pero dapat nating tanungin itong mga kompanya ng mga oligarkong ito: Saan napunta ang bilyong-bilyong pisong binabayad natin,” he said.
Meanwhile, Javellana encouraged the public to take part in the rehabilitation of the Manila Bay, saying the public should be responsible too in protecting the environment.
“Tama ngayon ang ginagawa ng DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government), na lahat ng mga barangay sa Metro Manila ay sinasabihan nila na kumilos,” Javellana said.
"Isa po sa itinutulak namin ay ang people participation. Hindi lang po gobyerno , hindi lang po Maynilad , Manila Water kundi ang buong taumbayan ay may obligasyon na mahalin niya ang Inang Kalikasan,” he said. —Joviland Rita/KBK, GMA News