New DENR task force to crack down on Metro Manila pollution

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
totalITemsFound:
maxPaginationLinks: 10
maxPossiblePages:
startIndex:
endIndex:

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 11) — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said it has formed a new task force that will go after environmental offenders in Metro Manila.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said in a Saturday statement that "Task Force DENR Metro Manila" is part of an ongoing effort to strengthen the agency's law enforcement muscle.

"It is ironic that enforcement is still the weakest link to the DENR's organizational effectiveness despite the sufficiency of existing laws that have been in operation for over a decade now," Cimatu said.

Soon after he assumed the DENR post in May, Cimatu said the strict enforcement of laws on clean air, clean water and solid waste management would be on top of his agenda.

Read: Ex-AFP chief Cimatu appointed as acting Environment Secretary

The task force is divided into four teams assigned to every three-to-seven cities in Metro Manila.

Each team is composed of 12 members from different bureaus under the DENR, including the Environmental Management Bureau, the Forest Management Bureau and the Biodiversity Management Bureau.

The task force is divided into four quadrants:

  • Quezon City, Marikina, Pasig, San Juan, Caloocan-North, Valenzuela and Mandaluyong
  • Makati, Pateros and Taguig
  • Pasay, Paranaque, Muntinlupa and Las Pinas
  • Navotas, Malabon, Manila and Caloocan-South

Cimatu said he envisioned the task force as a pilot model that would later be replicated in other priority areas in the country.

"Owing to being the country's highest population density and concentration of economic activities, Metro Manila has the highest incidence of violations of environmental laws and that makes it an ideal pilot area for the effort," Cimatu said.

With the new task force in place, Cimatu urged Metro Manila residents to use all available means of communication, including social media to report possible violations of environmental laws and regulations.

Cimatu said he expects the task force to be swamped with reports involving garbage, air pollution, water pollution and even illegal logging, since Metro Manila is a traditional trans-shipment point of undocumented wood products coming from provinces.