Sabotage? Palace doubts dolomite white sand project linked to Manila Bay fish kill

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 18 2020 03:57 PM | Updated as of Sep 18 2020 05:59 PM

Residents of Baseco gather by the breakwater to see dead fish floating in Manila Bay on September 17, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA— Government is looking at supposed efforts to sabotage the government's synthetic white sand project at the Manila Bay following reports of a fish kill.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque warned the public against efforts to undermine President Rodrigo Duterte's administration following the fish kill report.

"Hindi ko po alam kung mayroon ngang sabotahe, pinag-aaralan pa po iyan," Roque said, noting that freshwater fish tilapia was among those reportedly found dead on the shores of the Manila Bay earlier this week.

(I don't know if it's sabotage but we're looking into that.)

"Ingat-ingat lang po tayo sa panahon ngayon desperado po ang kalaban ng gobyerno, lahat po ginagawa para siraan si Presidente Duterte," he said.

(Let's be careful because many enemies of the government are desperate now. They're doing everything to ruin President Duterte.)

Also on Friday, Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said it was "impossible" for the government project to be the cause of the reported fish mortality in the Baseco area.

The fish kill report came after environmental groups and some lawmakers criticized the dumping of synthetic white sand made of crushed dolomite at the Manila Bay as an unnecessary component of the rehabilitation project.

In an earlier statement, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Director Eduardo Gongona said that water quality testing at the bay in Baseco, where dead fish were found, showed that dissolved oxygen in the area was only at 0.11 mg/L, much lower than the acceptable level of 5 mg/L for aquatic life.