Malacañang on Monday claimed the Manila Bay makeover project went through an environmental impact assessment and would be beneficial to city residents by preventing erosion and flooding.
The P389-million project has been widely criticized. Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo on Sunday said the project was proof of the government’s insensitivity amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
But Palace spokesman Roque said the budget for the project was approved in 2019, before the coronavirus outbreak.
“Hindi naman po natin inasahan na magkakaroon ng Covid-19. So alam ninyo naman ang rules sa budget, kapag iyan po ay nasa line item, iyan lamang po ang pupuwedeng paggamitan ng pondo,” he explained.
Roque said it was not solely a beautification project.
“This is a project intended to prevent further soil erosion and also intended to help alleviate iyong flooding problem natin sa Maynila,” he said.
“Although it is primarily beautification, mayroon din pong dahilan kung bakit ginawa iyan – it is a soil erosion project po, at it is part of an overall adaptation policy of the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources). Huwag naman po tayong maabala na hindi alam ng DENR ang kanilang ginagawa,” he added.
Over the weekend, Roque claimed the Manila Bay makeover would also provide mental health benefits.
“Sa gitna ng pandemya, kinakailangan din na pangalagaan ang mental health…. I think ‘yung pagpapasyal sa mga lugar gaya ng Manila Bay na may white beach, hindi mo maqua-quantify ang epekto nyan pagdating sa mental health ng ating mga kababayan,” he said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro