The Barangay at Kalinisan Day (BarKaDA) program of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) was officially launched on September 16, 2023 at the Estero de Sunog Apog in Brgy. 135, Tondo, Manila. The activity is a collaboration among the DILG, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and the City of Manila.

The launch coincided with the celebration of International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) 2023, which was also held in other coastal communities. DILG officials joined the kick-off ceremony of the ICC held at the Manila Dolomite Beach, namely, Atty. Lord A. Villanueva, Undersecretary for Operations and Usec. Serafin P. Barretto, Jr., CESO IV, Undersecretary for Public Safety. In his message, Usec. Villanueva recognized the spirit of Bayanihan coming to life as over 4,500 volunteers were present at Dolomite Beach. Relating to the coastal cleanup, Usec. Villanueva also highlighted the BarKaDA program as the DILG’s initiative to keep barangays or “interiors” clean as well.

Created by virtue of DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2023-133, the BarKaDa launch drew officials from the DILG led by its Undersecretary for Barangay Affairs Felicito Valmocina, as well as MMDA General Manager PCol. Procopio Lipana (Ret.), DENR-NCR Legal Division Chief, Atty. Alma Lanzo, and Manila First District Representative Hon. Ernesto M. Dionisio, Jr. Also joining the event were officials from DILG Central Office and DILG-NCR and barangay officials of Tondo, Manila.

The BarKaDa program embodies the community spirit that seeks to promote cleanliness, sustainability, and people participation in barangay affairs. These ideals provide the impetus for communities to undertake coastal sanitation work, including the clearing of waterways, trimming of overgrown areas, and the elimination of mosquito breeding sites – all for improving the well-being and quality of life of local residents.

As an overview of BarkaDa, Usec. Valmocina asserted that approximately 42,000 other barangays nationwide are participating in the cleaning initiative. With the continued dilemma on waste management, Usec. Valmocina emphasized, “disiplina, pakikiisa, at malasakit, yan po ang solusyon. Kung lahat ng ahensiya ay magtutulungan, lahat ng mamamayan magtutulungan, walang problema.” (Discipline, solidarity, and concern, those are the solution. If government agencies work together, if citizens work together, there is no problem.)

A ceremonial signing of a Memorandum of Agreement was signed between MMDA, the City of Manila, and two of its barangays covering the installation by MMDA of trash traps in critical waterways that meander around the City. The MOA signing was witnessed by the officials of the DILG and DENR and is expected to be scaled up to cover more barangays in the City.

Taking a strong proactive approach to the launch of BarkaDa, the whole DILG-NCR, led by Regional Director Maria Lourdes L. Agustin, CESO III, Assistant Regional Director Atty. Ana Lyn R. Baltazar-Cortez, CESO V; and co-organized with the DILG-Manila Field Office led by City Director John A. Visca, CESO V, remains committed to fulfilling the furtherance of environmental stewardship and its push for the well-being of local communities.