President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday cautioned foundations along the heavily polluted Manila Bay to maintain sewage and wastewater treatment offices if they want to continue operating.
Duterte, in a discourse in Pasay City, concentrated on inns which host tourists, both local and foreign.
“Whether they like or not itong mga hotel ipalabas niyong tae ng mga turista, lagyan ninyo ng water treatment ‘yang hotel n’yo ‘pag hindi sarahan ko ‘yan. Huwag mo akong hamunin,” he said.
“Kung wala tayong turista eh ‘di wala. Hindi naman tayo mamamatay. You do something about your waste there otherwise I will close. Sigurado yan. Is that the way how to do it? You swim among the germs of humanity? Buti sana kung iyo or at least sa Pilipino na dumi.”
The President said he has entrusted Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año to continue with the cleanup and restoration works.
Prior, Cimatu said he was quick to have the cove restored, reestablished and kept up to a dimension fit for swimming, skin jumping and other contact types of amusement.
He pledged to utilize a similar system utilized in Boracay, which Duterte once portrayed as a “cesspool,” to free Manila Bay of squanders and poisons.
During the first phase of Boracay rehabilitation last year, hotels and resorts caught directly pumping out their sewage into the sea were fined and required to put their own sewage treatment facilities.
The Manila Bay rehabilitation, Cimatu said, calls for a change in approach considering that its water quality has not improved despite a Supreme Court mandamus for its cleanup issued in December 2008.
Malacañang said the government is planning to use part of the proceeds from the road user’s tax for the cleanup and rehabilitation of Manila Bay.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said this will be done by abolishing the Road Board, which manages the road user’s tax collections, and remitting the funds to the national treasury.
Congress, in turn, can appropriate the funds for the rehabilitation works which may cost around P47 billion, according to the Department of Budget and Management.