By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

CLEANLINESS DRIVE. Bureau of Fire Protection members participate in the launching of the Kalinisan Project in Port Area, Manila on Saturday (Jan. 6, 2024). The cleanliness drive is being implemented nationwide. (PNA photo by Robert Alfiler)

MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will create a recognition system covering over 42,000 villages in the country to monitor, evaluate, and award the cleanest barangays.

This is in line with the directive of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to incentivize local government units (LGUs) maintaining cleanliness under the “Kalinisan sa Bagong Pilipinas” program.

The Kalinga at Inisyatiba para sa Malinis na Bayan or (Kalinisanl project, which was launched simultaneously in various parts of the country on Saturday, is the DILG’s new convergence initiative to maintain and provide a healthy and safe environment and enable community participation.

Barangays across the country conducted clean-up drives from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., focusing on streets, canals, other waterways, public markets, schools, and public parks.

“Imo-monitor natin ang performance ng bawat barangay on a monthly basis. And quarterly, magkakaron tayo ng awarding. Tututukan talaga natin ito (We will monitor the performance of every village on a monthly basis. We will have a quarterly awarding. We will closely monitor this),” DILG Secretary Benhur Abalos said during the launching at Baseco Compound in Port Area, Manila.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) collected 25 truckloads of trash from selected areas in the 17 LGUs.

“The Kalinisan sa Bagong Pilipinas is in sync with our constant call to the public to do their part in lessening, if not eliminating, our wastes. We join the call of DILG to renew and strengthen community participation in our fight against indiscriminate solid waste disposal. Taking care of our environment is our shared responsibility,” MMDA Acting Chair Don Artes said in a news release.

Abalos likewise urged LGUs to invest in programs, projects, and activities on solid waste management and ecological practices. 

“Sana hindi lang ngayong araw ito. Sana gawin natin ito araw-araw sa ating mga barangay, sa ating mga kabahayan. Gawin natin itong way of life. Dapat kahit saan tayo magpunta, malinis (I hope this is not just for today. Hopefully, we can do this everyday in our village, in our homes. Let’s make this a way of life. Every place we go to must be clean),” Abalos said.

He called on local officials to pass ordinances imposing community service punishment to those who will be caught littering or throwing garbage in public places.

The nationwide launching of Kalinisan coincided with Community Development Day as per Proclamation No. 341, s. 1964, signed by the late president Diosdado Macapagal. (PNA)