Manila Mayor and former president Joseph “Erap” Estrada joined a cleanup drive at Manila Bay Friday morning, but instead of cleaning the bay right away, some people intentionally threw a sack of garbage into the water, scattered it, and took it again, just for pubicity.
Erap invited the media to show that they will start the extensive clean-up of Manila Bay. “We’ll bring back the glory of Manila Bay,” said Erap.
Together with mediamen, Erap rode a small boat to commence the clean-up drive.
But instead of going to trash-thriving areas of the bay, a woman from another boat, believed to be also participating with the cleanup, throws a sack of garbage into the water. Soon after, 2 men that were in the water scattered the trash and towards the Mayor’s boat.
According to ABS-CBN, a news team asked Erap if he knew about the ‘scattering/dumping of trash,’ he responded: “For publicity, pero [but] we are serious in cleaning Manila Bay.”
It is not clear though, who commanded the scattering of trash just for a photo-opportunity.
It also turns out that a hotel near Manila Bay spearheads the project, not the Manila Local Government Unit (LGU).
Atty. Sol Arboladura, director of Manila Tourism, said: “This is spearheaded not by the city but by Rizal Park Hotel in cooperation with some government agencies such as the City of Manila. It will be done monthly.”
Meanwhile, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) was shocked upon witnessing the incident.
Undersecretary Maria Paz Luna, OIC of the Legal Legislative Affairs and Anti-Corruption of DENR, said: “Kapag nagtapon ka ng basura sa Manila Bay, mayroon naman talagang parusa ‘yan sa batas. Ang depensa siguro nila diyan ay kinuha rin naman nila. Sana lang nalahat nila. Hindi sana natin kailangan gawin ‘yun kasi marami namang puwedeng kunin sa Manila Bay. Kalkalin mo lang ‘yung kaunti sa shore.” [There’s a penalty according to the law if you throw trash at the Manila Bay. Maybe their defense is they just took it right away so. They should have taken all of it, and it’s not really necessary because there’s a lot of trash at the bay, like those near the shore.]
DENR was also asked if Erap should have any liability from the incident. Luna said “Di naman natin siya nakitang nagtapon e. Nakita mo ba siyang nag-utos?” [You saw that he himself didn’t throw a piece of trash. Did you see him telling anyone to throw trash?]
Watch the video report by ABS-CBN via Youtube: