Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu rallied support from his fellow Cabinet members for the ongoing rehabilitation of Manila Bay and Boracay Island as ordered by no less than President Rodrigo RoaDuterte.

“With your cooperation and support, we will win in the twin battles to save our natural resources: saving Boracay, and our national heritage, Manila Bay,” Cimatu told his colleagues during the joint forum of the Cabinet Clusters on Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCAM-DRR),and Security, Justice and Peace in Davao City prior to the President’s State of the Nation Address.

Cimatu chairs the Cabinet Cluster on CCAM-DRR, being the secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Cimatu thanked those who are taking part in the so-called “Battle for Manila Bay” which have so far gathered over 10,000 volunteers since the massive clean up drive was launched in January this year.

The rehabilitation efforts for Manila Bay has gained support from 178 local government units and 5,714 barangays around the bay.

In addition, the private sector has joined the efforts with the signing of partnerships with 32 firms for the adoption of esteros and creeks that drain to the bay. The companies provide dredging equipment and cleaning materials, conduct training and information campaigns and mobilize communities for the clean up of the bay.

However, Cimatu said the bay’s current state “is still far from our dream to make it clean and swimmable.”

“The Battle for Manila Bay is a long-drawn battle that we can only win with deep commitment and tremendous work,” Cimatu pointed out.

Cimatu, who also chairs the inter-agency Manila Bay Task Force, promised to address garbage collection and management, especially in the esteros, with Chairman Danilo Lim of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority as ground commander.

He said the task force plans to construct communal facilities and rehabilitate the breakwater along the mouth of Pasig River and Manila Bay, particularly the one near the Port Area.

Recently, 198 informal settler families (ISFs) from Estero de Magdalena in Malate, Manila were relocated to TreceMartires in Cavite while 50 ISFs from Estero de San Antonio de Abad, also in Manila, were transferred to Tala, Caloocan City.

Informal settlements usually lack sewage facilities forcing ISFs to dispose human waste directly to the esteros which is among the causes of poor water quality in the bay. Relocation is one component of the Manila Bay rehabilitation.

Cimatu said they plan to adopt a two-pronged approach in the restoration of the Baywalk along Roxas Boulevard: coastal and marine ecosystems enhancement; and establishment of wastewater treatment facilities, drainage diversion canal and modular sewerage treatment plants.

As for the Boracay rehabilitation, Cimatu said it is far from over as the DENR-led inter-agency task force “will soldier on to complete our mission.”

“Hindi pa tayotapossapagsasagipsa Boracay at iba pang nanganganibna tourist destinations,” the DENR chief declared.

Together with Secretary Eduardo Año of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Cimatu said he will go after violators, including erring local government officials and establishments.

“We have filed charges and we are ready to file more cases in court,” Cimatu said.

With the help from Secretary Mark Villar of the Department of Public Works and Highways, Cimatu said they will put in place all infrastructure needed to bring Boracay back on top of the world’s prime tourist destinations.

Cimatu said the Boracaytask forceand the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples are set to rehabilitate the Ati Core Shelter in SitioLugutan, Barangay Manoc-Manoc for the benefit of the Ati communities.

“More programs will be implemented to promote business and livelihood in Boracay,” Cimatu disclosed.

“Our partners in the private sector have also committed to continue as protectors of the island,” he added. ###

Jun Ramirez | Manila Bulletin

April 21, 2019, 11:29 AM

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is granting a 50 percent income tax discount to businesses that develop, use and distribute technologies that do not harm the environment.

The tax incentive is provided under Revenue Regulations No. 5-2019 signed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay.

The guideline was reissued last week implementing the Philippine Green Jobs Law (RA 10771), stressing the role of the business community in reducing pollution and other environmental menace.

Qualified to join the program are businesses engaged in production, manufacturing, processing, repacking and assembly as well as the sale of goods and services.

Specifically, participants are required to come out with the so-called green technologies.

The eco-friendly technologies refer to the development and application of products, equipment and systems used to conserve the environment and natural resources.

To avail of the tax incentives, participants must register with the revenue district office where the business is registered.

The regulations stated the entity “shall be entitled to a special deduction from the taxable income equivalent to 50 percent of the total expense for skills, training and research development expenses.”

Louise Bevan | The Epoch Times

April 3, 2019

It may not sound like a meal plan to aspire towards, but Yale University students made a fascinating discovery in 2012: a rare species of mushroom that can survive purely by feeding on plastic. The extraordinary mushroom that grows in the Amazon rainforest, “Pestalotiopsis microspora,” can feed on polyurethane (the main ingredient in plastic production), transforming the man-made ingredient into organic matter. The university’s research quickly gained traction, and some hugely impactful findings have been shared.

Pestalotiopsis microspora can live without oxygen, which brought scientists to a very interesting conclusion: these mushrooms have the potential to be propagated at the bottom of landfill sites.

The detritus that has amassed from decades upon decades of wasteful plastic usage presents a phenomenal undertaking, but scientists maintain that Pestalotiopsis microspora may, at the very least, change public perception of plastics in a helpful and progressive way, perhaps starting at the level of local community.

If plastic-eating mushroom species were propagated at community composting centers, residents would have the opportunity to come face to face with nature’s very own plastic assailant. But beyond small-scale composting, we know that there’s a literal trash heap twice the size of Texas currently floating in the Pacific Ocean. Laurent Lebreton of the Ocean Cleanup Foundation emphasized a sense of urgency to USA Today: “Unless we begin to remove it,” he said, “some would say it may remain there forever.”

Mother Nature has the answer, and it’s a tasty one: some plastic-eating mushrooms can be eaten by humans.

Katharina Unger of Utrecht University devised an amazing demonstrative model, or “Fungi Mutarium,” a climate-controlled, dome-shaped environment in which agar cups were filled with plastic waste and oyster mushroom spores. Over the course of a month, the mushrooms’ roots consumed and transformed the plastic waste into edible material, without accumulating toxins. The “final product” could even be eaten whole, Unger revealed, tasting “sweet with the smell of anise or licorice.”

By Eireene Jairee Gomez | The Manila Times

THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has ordered the closure of an open dumpsite in Limay, Bataan found to be illegally operating since 2015.

Environment Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management Benny Antiporda said they already issued a cease and desist order against the municipal government of Limay, and summoned Mayor
Lilvir Roque, Vice Mayor Robert Arvin Roque and the town councilors to explain the persistent operations of the illegal dumpsite.

“It is like a Smokey Mountain in the making. We already closed the area to stop the operations and I doubt that they will be permitted by the MGB ( Mines and Geosciences Bureau) to operate even after they rehabilitate the area. But definitely the rehabilitation must start now,” Antiporda told The Manila Times.

He noted that establishment and maintenance of an open dumpsite was strictly prohibited under Republic Act 9003 or the “Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.”

The DENR feared that various types of wastes from the open dumpsite located in Barangay San Francisco de Asis in Limay would reach the nearby body of waters, noting several connecting creeks and rivers in the area.

Antiporda said Limay entered into a memorandum of agreement with Metro Clark Waste Management Corp. based in Pampanga for the disposal of its wastes after the dumpsite was closed three years ago.

“We learned they have coordinated with Metro Clark, but it was only for a year. What we expected was that they would transfer their wastes to Clark, but unfortunately they resumed operations in the supposed-to-be closed dumpsite in Limay as it is illegal,” Antiporda added.