Pangilinan seeks probe on Manila Bay dolomite sand project

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 06 2020 01:15 PM

A view of the “white sand” project in Manila Bay as it temporarily opens to public on September 19, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan on Thursday filed a resolution seeking to investigate the "wasteful and unnecessary" spending of some P389-million to dump artificial white sand along a portion of the Manila Bay.

The government earlier dumped truckloads of crushed dolomite rocks
transported from Cebu in Manila Bay in September prompting several sectors to question the safety and necessity of the project.

The Senate should investigate allegations of overpricing, and the possible violation of several environmental laws, Pangilinan said in his Senate Resolution No. 565.

"An investigation in aid of legislation should therefore be conducted to address the concerns and issues raised regarding its sustainability, legality, and possible environmental and public health hazards, among others," Pangilinan said.

The Senate should also "determine the possible liability of erring officials of the violation of laws," he said, noting that a Supreme Court decision in 2008 mandates the government to " to keep the waters of the Manila Bay clean and clear as humanly as possible."

The multi-million Manila Bay White Sand Beach project "raises concerns of sustainability, legality, and possible environmental and public health hazards," the opposition senator said.

"This project is wasteful and unnecessary," he said.

"Lumampas na sa 380,000 ang COVID cases, marami nang dumaan na malalakas na bagyo, pero pinipilit pa rin na tama ito. Ang tanong: Kailangan ba talaga ito?" he said.

(The number of COVID cases in the country has breached the 380,000 mark, a lot of typhoons have barreled through the country, but some are still insisting that this was a right move. The question is: Do we really need this?)

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources earlier said that engineering interventions were placed to ensure that the sand would not be washed away during typhoons.

The Heath department also said that the artificial white sand is "not hazardous."

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