The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has designated Ormoc Bay in Leyte province, including its watershed and tributaries, as a water quality management area (WQMA).
Under Department Administrative Order 2013-21 issued by Environment Secretary Ramon Paje, Ormoc Bay will be placed under close monitoring by authorities to ensure that its water quality complies with the standards set forth under Republic
Act 9275, or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004.
Paje said that the designation of Ormoc Bay as WQMA was intended to formulate a comprehensive management program to promote environmental strategies and appropriate economic instruments, as well as control mechanisms, for the protection of the water body.
“With Ormoc City’s economy on the upswing, putting the entire Ormoc Bay under a regime of a comprehensive management program is imperative given its centrality to the commercial and agricultural vibrancy of Leyte province,” Paje said.
He noted that the bay area is affected by the activities in the 425-hectare Leyte Industrial Development Estate (LIDE) located in the nearby town of Isabel.
LIDE houses the Philippine Phosphate Fertilizer Plant, Asia’s largest fertilizer plant, and the Philippine Associated Smelter And Refining Co., the biggest copper processing plant in the country.
Paje said the designation will fast track the harmonization of water quality management activities within the area with other programs and initiatives, so that water quality standards are met according to the intended uses of the concerned waterways.
“This latest WQMA declaration is a reiteration of the Aquino administration’s resolve to institutionalize sound environmental policies as a prerequisite to inclusive and sustainable growth,” Paje said.
James Konstantin Galvez