MARIVELES, Bataan – The Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB) is taking its environmental protection program a step further by committing to help key government agencies in supervising and maintaining the water quality in the province.
The AFAB recently forged an agreement with the provincial government of Bataan, the Environmental Management Bureau Region III (EMB R3) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, QSR Management Link Association, Inc., and Soliman E.C. Septic Tank Disposal for the implementation and enforcement of Republic Act (RA) 9275, or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004.
Under the signed memorandum of agreement (MOA), the 3 government agencies and the 2 private entities are mandated to ensure that all establishments near the Manila Bay and river systems are complying with RA 9725. “We are very happy for this development. We are very fortunate that EMB R3 for Region 3 Director Lormerine Claudio is very passionate to push for this project. She did not give up on getting this thing off the ground,” AFAB Chairman Deogracias G.P. Custodio said. “Small gains like what we inaugurated today will go a long run in inspiring other people to do the same. There are commitments that the different signatories to the agreement will implement various projects under this new partnership,” he added.
For its part, the AFAB will utilize its Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) to preserve and maintain the quality of water being used by the locators and households within the freeport. The Authority is also mandated to determine reasonable charge rate per treatment for households and establishments in Bataan and nearby areas, and submit to EMB R3 a quarterly report on the number of establishments and quantity of septage treated. The AFAB is also set to sign a separate MOA with Soliman E.C., which will give the private company a permit to treat all of the sewage that it hauled at the freeport’s STP.
Meanwhile, the provincial government of Bataan will initiate an information, education and communication (IEC) campaign about the importance of septage and sewage treatment. The IEC Campaign will be assisted and supported by EMB R3. The provincial government will also issue a provincial ordinance requiring the regular treatment of septage and sewage for all households and all industrial and commercial establishments within its jurisdiction.
The administration of Bataan Gov. Raymond Albert Garcia also vowed to ensure that the government, through business permits and clearance from the Department of Health, authorizes all hauling activities of septage in the province.
Non-profit corporation QSR Management Link, on the other hand, committed to facilitate the participation of all its branches within the Manila Bay watershed to exercise proper maintenance and treatment of its effluents. The new development will help in assuring the locators at the freeport that aside from a booming economy, they will also enjoy a well preserved and developed environment.
The FAB is the emerging fashion manufacturing hub of the Philippines, as it possesses a budding cluster of companies producing high-end brands of garments, apparel, shoes and accessories, like bags, jewelries, among others. Its vision is to be the Freeport of choice in the country by 2020, becoming a center of trade, innovation and sustainable development in Asia and promoting work-life balance, global competitiveness and environmental protection.