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P1.35B earmarked for Manila Bay rehab ‘will just go down the drain’ — Atienza

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The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is spending another P1.35 billion next year for the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program, but Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza warned that the “new money will just go down the drain.”

This is due to the failure of Manila Water Co. Inc. and Maynilad Water Services Inc. to capture and decontaminate the national capital’s wastewater, Atienza said.

“Nothing has changed. Right now, the bulk of Metro Manila’s raw sewage, including those from households, still drain into the Pasig River and other waterways that all empty out into Manila Bay,” the former Manila mayor said.

Atienza said the DENR’s Operational Plan for the Manila Bay Coastal Management Strategy is getting another P1.35 billion in the proposed P4.1-trillion General Appropriations Act for 2020.

The money will be spent to renew and preserve Manila Bay’s coastal and marine ecosystem, he said.

“We will of course continue to support all new spending to revitalize Manila Bay. But Malacañang really has to crack the whip on the two water concessionaires that have been defying the Clean Water Act,” Atienza said.

“Otherwise, all our efforts to fully restore Manila Bay, which still functions like a vast septic tank, will be without real success,” Atienza said.

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