DENR official says COVID-19 halted bay rehabilitation
The so-called beautification of Manila Bay with the use of crushed dolomite, which gives the area a white sand effect, was a project that began last year, a Department of Environment and Natural Resources official said Saturday.
Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said the bay enhancement was merely being continued after Metro Manila was locked down.
"Last year pa nag-umpisa ito. Natigil nga ito noong (enhanced community quarantine), natigil ang proyekto. Automatic tigil lahat, kaya fina-fasttrack ngayon dahil delayed na delayed na iyan," Antiporda said on TeleRadyo.
The project and its timing have been questioned, because it was being done during a pandemic.
But the rehabilitation must go on, Antiporda said.
"Kahit ako, kung papayagan lang ako ng pamahalaan na hindi na magtrabaho, I will stay home . . . But sad to say, we have a mandate to finish this as early as possible because of the mandamus," Antiporda said.
He also reiterated that the P389 million allocated for the project cannot be diverted to be used to help curb COVID-19, as the project was bankrolled and bid out “more than a year ago.”
Antiporda said, while dolomite dust can he hazardous to health, the sand being dumped onto the Baywalk cannot be considered "dust."
"Iyan po ay dolostone. Ang sinasabi nila kapag nalanghap natin at pumasok sa baga ay magkakasakit tayo. Totoo po iyon," he said.
"Pero paano papasok sa ilong natin 'yan kung 'yan 5 millimeters ang size? Five millimeters po ang ating inorder at iyan po 100 times bigger than the dust particle na pwedeng pumasok sa baga."