The edited version was published in The Manila Times on September 18, 2013.
Work is now underway to restore the once clear waters of Antipolo City’s most famous waterfall, Hinulugang Taktak.
Rey Crisostomo, chief of Rizal Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO), told The Manila Times yesterday that his office, together with the local governments of Rizal and Antipolo City, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), National Housing Authority (NHA) and other concerned agencies are helping out to rehabilitate the water in the said waterfall.
“Some areas surrounding (Hinulugang) Taktak are already occupied by mostly informal settlers,” he said.
He added that based on studies conducted by his office, almost 70 percent of water in the waterfall has been filled with domestic waste coming from houses. It also saw high levels of mercury and coliform bacteria, which allegedly come from nearby livestock and poultry factories.
“Kapag umaga, napupuno ng bula ‘yung flowing water sa Taktak galing sa mga naliligo at naglalaba sa mga bahay nila,” he added.
Crisostomo reported that 23 families have been transferred to a temporary resettlement area in Baras, Rizal. Relocation efforts are still ongoing.
PENRO has also drafted other measures to help in the so-called ‘long-term’ rehabilitation efforts for Hinulugang Taktak.
Crisostomo said the 3- to 5-meter easement of the waterfall must be free from any structure, and instead be planted with trees such as bamboo.
He also said that every subdivision around the area should have water treatment facilities to prevent domestic waste from flowing into the waterfall.
He hopes that these measures would be followed by everyone, including residents, owners of livestock and poultry industries, and even tourists so that clear water would flow once again in Hinulugang Taktak.
“We would want to inculcate in the minds of everyone na importante ang kooperasyon nila to bring back the beauty of Taktak,” he said.