Goal is to make Manila Zoo child-friendly, but it’ll take time, says official

April Rafales, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 04 2019 08:36 PM

Can the Manila Zoo be made environment-friendly? Manila city officials say it is possible but it will take time. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA—Almost 6 months after its closure upon the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ orders, the Manila Zoo remains untouched and unfixed.

The DENR ordered the shutdown after it was discovered that, because of the absence of a sewage treatment facility, the zoo was discharging untreated water into the Manila Bay.

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno vowed to make changes and “rebrand” the zoo as an environment and child-friendly destination.

“It doesn't matter how many weeks or months or years it takes, as long as we follow the DENR orders, we will follow,” he said.

“The Manila Zoo, being under the care of the local government, causes pollution in the Manila Bay and it should be corrected.”

He added that the zoo will not be privatized, and will remain under the care of the city.

That plan could take a while to get going, though.

Pio Morabe, officer in charge of the city's public recreation bureau, which is tasked to manage the zoo, said a sewage treatment plant needs to be built from scratch, fix the drainage system that hasn’t been repaired since the 1950s, and replace damaged pipes.

Morabe said previous management did not work on the zoo since its shutdown in January, and the facility was not properly turned over.

DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said his office is ready to meet with the Manila officials to discuss the technical aspect of the rehab, and to make sure that the sewage treatment plant is at par with the standards approved by the DENR.