Manila bay rehab: SSS-owned establishment, other businesses sanctioned

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Children and adults alike beat the summer heat through swimming at this portion of Manila Bay — something that the state disaster bureau is not too happy about owing to the threats to health that swimming in polluted waters poses. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 1) — Four more establishments, including one owned by the Social Security System (SSS), got sanctioned Friday as part of government efforts to rehabilitate Manila Bay.

The Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) issued a cease and desist order to HK Sun Plaza, a financial center area managed and owned by the SSS along Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard in Pasay City. With the order, the establishment will still be allowed to operate but it is now prohibited from discharging wastewater directly to Manila Bay.

Despite having a sewage treatment facility, tests showed that the wastewater discharged by HK Sun Plaza contained a high concentration of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD). It is at 1,994 mg/L, when the acceptable level is only 30mg/L. The LLDA said high BOD levels may degrade water quality, making it impossible for aquatic plants and animals to survive.

The SSS said it has been working closely with the LLDA to comply with standards, committing to upgrade its sewage treatment plant within the year.

"As immediate solutions, bio-cleaners will be installed in the existing sewage treatment plant of HK Sun Plaza this week. At the same time, the tenants of the building that directly discharge to the Libertad channel will also install portable sewage treatment plants to sanitize water from their establishments," the SSS said in a statement.

The LLDA on Friday also served cease and desist orders (CDOs) to Tramway Bayview Buffet Restaurant and Billion Building or Philippine Billion Real Estate Development Corp. at Roxas Boulevard, and D Circle Hotel in Malate, Manila - for lacking proper sewage treatment plant. Their water discharge points have been sealed off pending construction of treatment facilities.

"Purpose ng CDO is ( to) stop (the) release ng waste water nila na hindi pumapasa sa standards," said Emil Hernandez, Manager of LLDA's Environmental Regulations Department.

[Translation: The purpose of the CDO is to stop their release of waste water that do not pass standards.]

Three other establishments along Manila Bay received CDOs last January 27, when the rehabilitation of Manila Bay kicked off on orders of President Rodrigo Duterte.

READ: Three establishments face sanctions as Manila Bay rehab kicks off

In a speech on January 9, 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.

CNN Philippines' Carolyn Bonquin and Eimor Santos contributed to this report.