Three establishments face sanctions as Manila Bay rehab kicks off

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 27) — The water sources of at least three establishments along Manila Bay were cut off after being found violating environmental laws.

The Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) issued cease and desist orders Sunday to Aristocrat Restaurant along Roxas Boulevard, Gloria Maris Shark's Fin Restaurant within the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex, and San Miguel by the Bay at the Esplanade for discharging wastewater directly to the Manila Bay.

Deparment of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu and Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año led the delivery of the cease and desist orders for closure of water supply.

However, the DENR said no one was stopping the businesses from operating.

LLDA General Manager Jaime Medina said the owners of the establishments could lose their mayor's permit and environmental compliance certificate should they fail to correct their violations.

There was also no deadline given for them to do so.

Meanwhile, a crew member of the Aristocrat Restaurant told CNN Philippines they are still open for business.

Cimatu said the government will exert all efforts to win what he called "The Battle of Manila Bay" and restore it to its "former glory."

In an earlier statement, Cimatu said, "This is a battle that will be won not with force or arms but with the firm resolve to bring Manila Bay back to life... With the commitment and determination of every Filipino to do his share in this rehabilitation effort, we have already won the battle for Manila Bay."

The DENR earlier said ₱47 billion will be alloted for the bay's cleanup.

The budget will also be used to look for relocation sites of affected families living near the bay.

Along with the ceremonial launch, simultaneous cleanup activities will be held in parts of Las Piñas and Navotas, and towns in Bulacan, Bataan and Pampanga.

In a speech on January 9, President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to close down restaurants near the Manila Bay without proper water treatment systems, following his order to rehabilitate the polluted body of water.

On January 22, the Manila Zoo — another Manila landmark — was ordered temporarily closed by city authorities pending improvements in line with the Manila Bay rehabilitation.

Manila City Hall Administrator Ericson Alcovendaz said Mayor Joseph "Erap" Estrada issued the order to give way for the construction of sewer lines for zoo waste. He said it will be closed until the construction is finished.

CNN Philippines correspondent Xianne Arcangel contributed to this report.