20K Bataan folks join Coastal Clean-up Day

BAGAC, Bataan — Some 20,000 people joined the International Clean-up Day, focusing not only on the seven coastal villages but all the 14 barangays of this town.

Mayor Rommel del Rosario said some 8,000 participated in the parade from the Philippine–Japan Friendship Tower to the town plaza and later in the clean-up of seven seaside villages adjacent to the West Philippine Sea.

He said that while they were cleaning wastes in the coastal villages, others, numbering to some 12,000, were cleaning their respective barangays.

Municipal administrator Nick Ancheta said this was the biggest gathering in the observance of the International Cleanup Day in the province. “Nakakagulat ang dami ng tao (The huge number of people is overwhelming),” he said.

Michelle Pillagara, secretary to the mayor, said the participants came from the Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard, Bureau of Fire Protection, civic organizations, senior citizens’ group, schools, religious organizations, and barangay, municipal and provincial officials, workers and villagers.

She said the activity started with the long parade and later the launching of the “One Bagac for Zero Plastic” or 140 where Mayor Del Rosario, environment officials, and ordinary citizens symbolically placed plastic bottles inside a big fish bin.

Pillagara said that if the country has 911 for its hotline, 140 will serve as such for Bagac.

She said that 14 stands for the 14 villages of the town

The mayor led a big group in the clean-up of the shores of Barangay Pag-asa where beach resorts frequented by tourists are located.

“Sana maunawaan ng mga tao na panahon na para ayusin ang bayan ng Bagac. Tigilan na ang pagsira sa kabundukan, karagatan at pagtatapon kung saan-saan lamang ng mga basura sa upland papunta sa karagatan (I wish the people understand that it is high time to put Bagac in order. Let us stop destroying the mountain and sea and the indiscriminate dumping of wastes in the upland going to the sea),” del Rosario said.

He said that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan has passed an ordinance that will impose a penalty on violators.

“Siyempre kalinisan ang No. 1 dahil kami ay tourist destination. Talagang kailangan na malinis, tahimik at maayos kami sa Bagac. Kahit maliit lang ang bayan namin, gusto kong masiguro na kami ang pinakamalinis na bayan sa buong Pilipinas (Of course, cleanliness is no. 1 because we are a tourist destination. Indeed, we in Bagac must be clean, peaceful and orderly. Even though our town is small, I want to ensure that we are the cleanest town in the entire Philippines),” the mayor said.

He said that houses used to line up in the coastal area but that he ordered the demolition of structures 20 meters from the highest tide.

“Merong natuwa pero meron ding nagalit (There are some who were happy but there are also those who got angry),” del Rosario said.

He added he will also ask houses and beach resorts to install septic tanks approved by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) so that water going to the sea will be clean.

“Pagkatapos nitong dagat, pagkatapos ng bayan, lahat naman ng ilog isusunod natin. Ang mga resort hindi pwedeng mag-operate na ang kanilang mga waste diretso sa dagat. Ngayon may ordinansa na kami kaya may pangil na ako (After the sea, after the town, then all the rivers will follow. The resorts can no longer operate with their wastes going directly to the sea. Since we already had an ordinance, I now have fangs),” del Rosario said.

The mayor said Bagac will also be a no-smoking area. A chain smoker, he said that he has already begun to stop smoking.

He said that their campaign just started but will not only be good for a day but a continuing process. “I will implement what the ordinance indicates. This is for the next generation, for the children of your children. Let us help one another),” he told villagers in Tagalog.  Ernie Esconde / PNA – northboundasia.com

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