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Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has reiterated the importance of the dolomite beach in the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program, noting how the beach enhancement project can positively shape the mindset of the public on proper solid waste management.

In his keynote speech during the launch of the DENR’s Solid Waste Management Advocacy Campaign on Oct. 15, Cimatu said he envisions the full restoration of the historic bay as a way to inspire Filipinos' behavioral change towards the environment.

By making Manila Bay more attractive and clean, the DENR chief said the public will be inspired to practice proper solid waste management and shun environmentally-destructive habits.

"Why did we beautify the Baywalk when we can have just settled with its old appearance? You see, our intention is to dramatically change it so that when you enter there, your mindset and attitude will improve," Cimatu said a day before the dolomite beach at Manila Bay was reopened to the public on Oct. 16.

"This is really our intention for doing this, for us not to go back to the old, dirty Manila Bay," he stressed.

Cimatu, who is chair of the Manila Bay Task Force which launched the “Battle for Manila Bay” in 2019, underscored the importance of instilling behavioral change among Filipinos as he pointed out that solid waste management remains "one of the biggest challenges" faced by the DENR.

In line with this, the DENR under Cimatu’s leadership had launched the Solid Waste Management Advocacy Campaign, a youth-focused advocacy drive that aims to spur behavioral change towards the environment and mobilize the citizenry on the proper handling and disposal of solid waste.

Cimatu also enjoined Filipino families to be DENR’s partners in this and other similar efforts and programs. He said that good practices instilled by parents on their children can positively contribute to the care and restoration of the country's environment and natural resources.

The DENR, together with its "estero rangers" and government and non-government partners, likewise continue to implement the Manila Bay rehabilitation program through various cleanup activities in the historic bay and its connecting waterways.

Once the rehabilitation project is done, Cimatu expressed confidence that the Filipino youth will someday be proud of the Manila Bay and the culture change that, hopefully, he said, they will inherit.

"When the next generation witnesses this, they will say — 'This is beautiful. Mabuti nalang nagawa ito noon.' I know that the next generation will say that," Cimatu said.

He added: “When they grow up, they wouldn’t think our country is a third world country because they’ll see this as very orderly, clean, and beautiful. This is really intended for the next generation.” ###