May 1, 1898: Manila Bay was raging with fire, mortars, guns and humans. Two opposing groups made the Manila Bay as the staging area to find out their strength and dominance.
On the American side, American Asiatic Squadron led by Commodore George Dewy; on the Spanish side, Spanish Pacific Squadron led by Contraalmirante Patricio Montojo.
And this historic battle was one of the most decisive naval battles ever fought between two mighty countries for political power and dominance. And this marked the end of the Spanish Colonial period in the Philippines.
January 27, 2019, the historic Manila Bay became the stage of human involvement to clean the most polluted body of water in Asia. The opposing groups are many, not only two, but many, and these include the various industries in the 4 regions, the temporary settlers, various establishments like hotels, condos, restaurants and subdivision, and people like you and me. Each one, according to the report gathered by Department of Environment and Natural Resources, has contributed to the garbage, fecal bacteria, raw sewage, industrial waste and thus, Manila Bay is not the place for picnic and swimming!
On the other side, the current government led by President Duterte and 18 government agencies which are the major engines to clean the Manila Bay. Each one wants to make the Manila Bay as the centre of water amusement, or the Boracay ng Maynila, where family can have a Sunday picnic, and a water amusement centre for swimming and other water related games. And to cool off the summer heat wave! Aimed at to rehabilitate the Manila Bay for a 5-year period with a Ph42 billion budget. And this will mark as the end of people’s negative attitude towards environment. And the beginning of the new era of making the Manila Bay, not only historic, but also the place where people gather, not only to watch the most beautiful sunset in the world but also to make the Manila and its environs habitable and sustainable.
The only difference with this second “Battle of Manila Bay” is the presence of many critics, mostly are those who have been criticizing the style of governance of Pres.Duterte.
Only a well-defined and a well-focused political will can effect a change for a much better society as envisioned by the current leaders, making D30 and his dedicated men and passionate volunteers as engines for mobilizing the people’s conscience. I have not seen a throng of free people enjoying the historic Manila Bay. Loving Manila Bay and its water is the new beginning no matter what critics would fan to erase the insatiable love to have a place for them and for their family….The battle to make the Manila Bay sustainable and doable becomes a part of a narrative of the beautiful Philippines.
Commodore George Dewey and Contraalmirante Patricio Montojo did not foresee that there would be a second “Battle of Manila Bay. And this current battle is exciting and looking forward to have a dip in the water to cool off the summer’s heat! Not the cannon and bullets’ fire!