MANILA - The environment department's dumping of synthetic white sand in Manila Bay goes against the Supreme Court's order to government agencies to rehabilitate the area, an environmental group said Monday.
The dumping of dolomite or any material that is not natural to the area is reclamation, according to Rodne Galicha, executive director of Living Laudato Si Philippines.
"It goes against the order of the Supreme Court. Does the measure, is it in the plan? Second, it’s synthetic, it’s absolutely not natural. It’s not rehabilitation. You haven’t cleaned it up completely yet. There’s a need for the Supreme Court to look deeply into that," he told ANC.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) must show transparency and its feasibility plan for the project, Galicha said as he questioned the agency's move during a pandemic.
The DENR earlier said funds spent for the dumping of synthetic white sand in the Manila Bay cannot be diverted to pandemic efforts.
DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said he did not know how much of the P389 million allocated for rehabilitating the body of water was used for the synthetic sand.
"We are happy DENR is doing their efforts to rehabilitate and nourish Manila Bay but there’s a need for transparency, empathy in this time of crisis," he said.
"As far as I know, many important projects as well were not pushed thru because of realignment of funds...We need also to look deeply into the ethics of pushing through with that project."
Government must first address pollution in Manila Bay before beautifying it, Galicha said.
"The root cause of the problem is pollution. If the root cause of the problem is pollution and you just put bandaid or makeup there, it will not solve the problem, Manila Bay will not be rehabilitated," he said.