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Ahead of the World Environment Day celebration on June 5, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), together with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Philippine National Police-Maritime Group (PNP-MG), on Friday, June 4, conducted a joint inspection on the environmental compliance of marine vessels at Manila Bay.

Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny D. Antiporda led the team in the inspection of marine vessels docked in Navotas fish port and batil or wooden cargo vessels in Delpan, Port Area, Manila.

PCG National Capital Region-Central Luzon (NCR-CL) Commodore Leovigildo Panopio, PCG NCR-CL spokesperson Lieutenant Michael John Encina, and personnel of PNP-MG under the leadership of Director Police Brig. Gen. John Mitchell Jamili assisted in the operation.

"We are strengthening the coordination and cooperation of the (Philippine) Coast Guard, (PNP) Maritime Group, and DENR to fully enforce the laws that will really protect our oceans," Antiporda stressed.

Antiporda, who is also the head of the Manila Bay Anti-Pollution Task Force, visited the shipyards in Navotas fish port where large marine vessels undergoing repair and maintenance are parked.

He said that the wastewater coming from the shipyard could include toxic compounds and may cause harmful effects to the ocean particularly the marine organisms.

"There is no clear protection for our oceans from what we have seen in the shipyards that we have visited," Antiporda pointed out.

"When it rains, the rust removed from the vessels will go directly to the ocean, thus contaminates the water," he added.

The DENR official said they will be calling the attention of marine vessel owners in shipyards in Navotas, including those operating within the Manila Bay region.

"We will summon the respective owners of the shipyard in Navotas area," Antiporda said. "Of course, within the Manila Bay area where there are established shipyards, we will also get their attention and ask for their support in our campaign to address the pollution in Manila Bay.”

He also said that if these owners will not abide by the orders of the DENR, they will be left with no choice but to file charges against them.

Meanwhile, Antiporda also met with the captains of the batils docked at Delpan Port Area in Manila, which transport cargo to and from Palawan, to discuss the crew's wastewater and solid waste management system.

"Despite our campaign to clean our oceans, if the sea vessel operators will not help in this endeavor, we will not be able to clean it up," Antiporda said.

The DENR-Environmental Management Bureau has conducted water sampling in Navotas Fish Port to find out if chemical components, such as lead, iron, and copper are present in the waters near the shipyards.

They also took water samples in Delpan Port to assess the water quality in the area based on its fecal coliform content. ###