Manila Mayor Erap Estrada, other officials under investigation for Manila Bay cleanup publicity stunt

Former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada and other local executives are under investigation for administrative and criminal charges for violating environmental laws when a video went viral of staff dumping waste in Manila Bay for Estrada’s cleanup publicity stunt on July 21.
Whoever dumped the garbage will be held liable, according to Elly Ildefonso, executive director of the Secretariat of the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC).

The NSWMC is composed of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB).

Ildefonso added that their “legal department is looking into it now,” referring to the representatives of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ legal affairs unit.

He said that throwing waste into a body of water even for increased awareness or publicity stunt is still violating the law against garbage disposal. Those who are liable had violated Republic Act (RA) 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 and RA 9275 or the Clean Water Act of 2004.

“LGUs should clean up waste already there. Not dump then clean it up in front of the camera,” Ildefonso added.

He urged LGUs (local government units) to campaign for ecological solid-waste management, from segregation and recycling to composting, proper hauling, and disposing of waste in sanitary landfills.

RA 9003 mandates LGUs to implement proper waste segregation, composting, recycling and reducing the amount of garbage thrown in landfills.
Netizens criticized Estrada after an ABS-CBN news report showed the staff throwing trashes into the waters of Manila Bay for publicity purposes only.

This came after ABS-CBN News reporter Jasmin Romero exposed what happened behind the scene of Estrada’s cleanup drive. Her video went viral after it aired on TV Patrol on July 21.

In the report, the reporter asked the staff whether they are serious about dumping garbage into the water.

“Clean up po iyan. Pupulutin ulit para lang may photo,” a staff member said.

The reporter said the news team asked Estrada if he knew about the dumping of trash and he said, “For publicity only, but we are serious in cleaning Manila Bay.”

However, lawyer Sol Arboladura, Manila Tourism and Cultural Affairs Bureau director, said that the cleanup drive was initiated by a nearby hotel.

“This is spearheaded not by the city but by Rizal Park Hotel in cooperation with some government agencies such as the city of Manila,” Arboladura told the ABS-CBN News team.

Netizens reacted to the report and criticized Estrada for the move.

After receiving criticisms from his cleanup drive, Estrada cried sabotage on July 23.

“I have nothing to do with that. It’s sabotage. I was invited there to lead the cleanup drive of Manila Bay,” he told the Philippine Star in a phone interview.

Sources: ( , )

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