To mark the challenges and achievements of the “Battle for Manila Bay” rehabilitation program, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has partnered with the Department of National Defense (DND) for the installation of a cannon replica along the Roxas Boulevard Baywalk in Manila.
Former Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said the DENR and DND will be constructing a replica of a Fort Drum Island cannon near Manila’s Remedios drainage outfall to “serve as a physical reminder of the DENR’s commitment and willpower in our battle to rehabilitate Manila Bay.”
Fort Drum Island, otherwise known as El Fraile Island, is one of the four islands located at the mouth of Manila Bay that serves as a formidable line of defense protecting the capital city of Manila from naval invasion from Spanish colonial rule until World War II.
“This landmark shall depict the three battles in Manila Bay—the Spanish-American War, Japanese-American War, and now, the modern Battle for Manila Bay,” said Cimatu, who recently resigned from his post as DENR Secretary due to health reasons.
The cannon replica will be 19.04 cubic meters, while the original barrel will be 37 feet and weighs 10 tons. This will be built on a 251.1-cubic meter concrete platform along the Remedios area.
The DENR and DND projected the completion and inauguration of the cannon replica on April 9, 2022 during the celebration of the Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor).
Cimatu noted that the “heavily fortified” Fort Drum cannon defended and protected the entrance of Manila Bay against invaders—“similar to the Battle for Manila Bay rehabilitation program as it protected the historical bay against pollution and degradation.”
Undersecretary Ernesto Carolina of the DND’s Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) said that “visitors who will be strolling along the Manila Baywalk will be reminded of the historical battles and unnamed heroes who defended our country through the Fort Drum cannon.”
“Likewise, this project will bring an added perspective of what the Manila Baywalk and the Manila Bay Dolomite Beach is all about,” Carolina said.
He also expressed hope that the new landmark will “give balikbayans (returning Filipinos) and the youth a sense of nationalism and pride on their origins and the heroism from their ancestors.”
The Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program, dubbed as “Battle for Manila Bay,” started on January 27, 2019, and is in line with the Writ of Continuing Mandamus on Manila Bay issued by the Supreme Court in 2008.
It directs 13 government agencies to clean up, rehabilitate and preserve the historic bay and maintain its waters to Class SB level which means the bay will be “fit for swimming, skin-diving, and other forms of contact recreation.”