(Screenshot taken from Dada Koo’s vlog)
After marine scientists from the University of the Philippines (UP) said the dumping of crushed dolomite along Manila Bay’s coasts “will not help solve the root of environmental problems” in the area, Malacañang insisted that funds used for the project cannot be realigned for Covid-19 response purposes.
“Nasimulan na po iyan eh, so kinakailangan tapusin na po iyan,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque said about the Manila Bay makeover.
He said only the budget of projects that were yet to start may be realigned.
“Itong project na ito was proposed two years ago, included in last year’s budget and only being implemented,” he added.
The Manila Bay rehabilitation project was given a P389 million budget under the 2019 national budget. Of the total, P28 million were used for the crushed dolomite boulders.
“Iyong budget po kasi diyan, hindi lang siya budget actually for the rich nourishment, it’s actually for the entire program of government in rehabilitating Manila Bay,” Roque explained.
‘No shortcuts to cleaner environment’
In a statement, the UP Marine Science Institute said the Manila Bay cleanup will be “a long and arduous task” which requires the concerted effort of every Filipino.
“There are no shortcuts to a cleaner environment. The use of crushed dolomite will not help solve the environmental problems in Manila Bay,” it said.
“At most, it is a beautification effort that is costly and temporary,” it continued.
Instead of the “white sand” dumping, the institute recommended the following measures which it said could be achieved with “government interventions, social and community behavioral change and legislations and policy guidelines implemented”:
- infrastructure infusion for wastewater treatment plans
- transfer of informal settlers
- “operationally clean” effluent discharge and decrease sedimentation from the watershed
- zero garbage inputs John Ezekiel J. Hirro