04 February 2010

Stakeholders intensify efforts to protect Subic Bay

Stakeholder groups in the Subic Bay area gave an overwhelming response to calls from the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) to help arrest the degradation of Subic Bay by joining resource conservation and protection projects initiated by the agency.

With renewed passion that stemmed from the recently-concluded Subic Bay Water Summit, more than 500 representatives of community groups in the free port area demonstrated their affection for Subic Bay through the “Save My Bay” beach cleanup held here on Saturday.

“This is a clear demonstration that the private sector, the academe, and the government understand the value of this precious water resource,” said SBMA chairman Feliciano Salonga, whose agency initiated the water summit on January 28-29 to assess the condition of Subic Bay and lay the groundwork for its conservation.

Salonga said that Subic Bay is facing threats from the rapid development around it, so that the formulation of a concrete framework and action plan for its preservation has been deemed urgent.

“The SBMA cannot do this on its own,” Salonga said in his appeal to the clean-up participants. “Subic Bay is vast! The areas surrounding the bay— the Subic Freeport, Olongapo City, the town of Subic, Zambales and parts of Bataan—all benefit from its waters, so protecting and conserving it is a common responsibility.”

Salonga added that the two-day Subic Bay Water Summit clearly pointed out the need for joint conservation efforts, as the different groups that impact the bay signed a commitment to unite for the cause to save Subic Bay.

“We should not wait for dismal conditions like those in the Pasig River to appear, before we formulate steps to save our common resource,” he said.

Salonga proudly noted that the concern for Subic Bay was not limited to residents in the greater Subic Bay area.

Miss Earth beauties traveled all the way from Manila to demonstrate their support, along with members of Rotary District 3780 based in Cubao West, Quezon City, which organized the event along with the SBMA, The Lighthouse Marina Resort Hotel here, and the International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians, Philippine Fleet.

“They see how the SBMA cares for its natural resources, so it is easy to generate support,” Salonga also noted.

Jun Avecilla, president of The Lighthouse Marina Resort Hotel, who was among the organizers of the event, said they are “committed to preserving the bay.”

“Subic Bay is an asset, and our group will continue to conduct activities that will improve the condition of this water resource,” said Avecilla, who is also president of Rotary District 3780 and commodore of the local chapter of the International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians. (SBMA Corporate Communications)

Stakeholders in the Subic Bay area, along with guest conservationists, clean up a stretch of beach along the famous Waterfront Road in the Subic Bay Freeport, as part of community efforts to arrest the degradation of the bay’s water quality.