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(SALUTATIONS)

ON BEHALF OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES, I WOULD LIKE TO THANK SM PRIME HOLDINGS, INC., HEADED BY ITS PRESIDENT, MR. JEFFREY LIM, FOR BEING HERE TODAY, TO FULFILL2 OF ITS CORPORATE MISSIONS: TO FOSTER SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IN THE COMMUNITIES IT SERVES; AND TO ENSURE THAT EVERYTHING ITS COMPANY UNDERTAKES WILL SAFEGUARD A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS.
TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN, SM PRIME HOLDINGS IS NOW ENTERING INTO A MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING AMONG THE DENR AND THE CITIES OF PASAY AND PARAÑAQUE TO DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT A COMPREHENSIVE PROGRAM INTENDED TO REDUCE POLLUTION IN THE ESTERO DE TRIPA DE GALINA AND PARAÑAQUE RIVER -2 OF THE CRITICAL TRIBUTARIES OF MANILA BAY.
I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO THANK PASAY CITY MAYOR ANTONINO CALIXTO AND PARAÑAQUE CITY MAYOR EDWIN OLIVAREZ, WHO ARE BOTH HERE TODAY TO MANIFEST THEIR FULL COMMITMENT AND SUPPORT TO IMPLEMENT EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES AND LONG-TERM SOLUTIONS TO MAKE THESE WATERWAYS CLEAN, HEALTHY, AND SAFE FOR THEIR PEOPLE AND FOR MANILA BAY.
AS WE ALL KNOW, THESE WATERWAYS RECORDED FAILING MARKS IN ALMOST ALL OF THE PHYSICO-CHEMICAL STANDARDS SET BY THE DENR. FURTHER, THESE WATERWAYS DRAIN TO MANILA BAY. WE CANNOT WIN OUR “BATTLE FOR MANILA BAY” IF WE CANNOT IMPROVE THE WATER QUALITY OF THESE WATERWAYS. BASED ON WATER QUALITY ASSESSMENTS, THE QUALITY OF WATER OF THESE WATERWAYS CAN NO LONGER SUSTAIN AQUATIC LIFE.
I MUST EMPHASIZE THAT WE NEED TO CLEAN AND REHABILITATE MANILA BAY; BUT ADMITTEDLY, THE DENR CANNOT DO IT ALONE. CLEANING ALL THE 9 RIVERS AND ALMOST 50ESTEROS IN METRO MANILA THAT DRAIN TO MANILA BAY IS NOT AN EASY JOB.
THAT IS WHY WE ARE THANKFUL TO OUR PARTNER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES AND SOME MEMBERS OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR, LIKE SM PRIME HOLDINGS, FOR HELPING US UNDERTAKE REHABILITATION TASKS AT PRACTICALLY NO COST TO THE GOVERNMENT.
PEOPLE’S PARTICIPATION, PARTNERSHIPS AND COLLABORATION PROVED TO BE THE FACTORS IN THE SUCCESS OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMS SUCH AS THIS ADOPT-AN-ESTERO PROGRAM OF THE DENR.
JUST 2 DAYS AGO, THE DENR, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, AND METRO MANILA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY LED A METRO-WIDE CLEAN UP OF RIVERS AND ESTEROS WHEREINOVER 16,000 PEOPLE PARTICIPATED. DITO PA LANG PANALO NA TAYO!
WE HAVE CREATED A VERY EFFECTIVE AND HARMONIOUS MECHANISM OF GETTING RID OF GARBAGE IN THESE WATER BODIES. AND CLEANING OUR RIVERS AND ESTEROS WILL BE DONE PERIODICALLY EVERY WEEK.

WITH THE ADOPTION OF SM PRIME HOLDINGS INC., FULL COORDINATION AND PARTICIPATION WILL NOW PUT IN PLACE SO THAT WATERS OF THESE ADOPTED WATERWAYS WILL BE RESTORED TO WATER QUALITY OF CLASS C LEVEL.
THE FULL SUPPORT AND ASSISTANCE OF DENR AND THE CITY GOVERNMENTS OF PARAÑAQUE AND PASAY WILL STRENGHEN ENFORCEMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS IN THEIR RESPECTIVE AREAS OF JURISDICTIONS.
ON THIS NOTE, LET ME THANK SM PRIME HOLDINGS, INC. AGAIN FOR HEEDING TO THE CALL AND ACCEPTING THIS CHALLENGE. ALLOW ME ALSO TO EXTEND MY APPRECIATIONTO OUR LGU PARTNERSFOR SHOWING THEIR STRONG COMMITMENTS IN SECURING NOT ONLY THE LIVES OF THEIR CONSTITUENTS, BUT ALSO THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF THE WATERWAYS WITHIN THEIR AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITY.
MABUHAY TAYONG LAHAT!