MANILA, Philippines — Manila Mayor Isko Moreno admits that he was not informed about the dumping of crushed dolomite sand along the Manila Bay coast. He also does not think that there is anything wrong with the resuming of the ongoing ₱389 million project.
According to CNN Philippines’ The Source, Moreno said other government initiatives may still continue amid the COVID-19 fight. This includes the controversial “white sand” project which critics earlier slammed as “mere aesthetics” and waste of taxpayers’ money.
“Life must go on. Things must move on. All other things in the government in terms of vision, aspirations, future development for midterm and long-term, must be done simultaneously while we’re fighting against the pandemic. We cannot stop.”Manila Mayor Isko Moreno
Moreno also supported the previous claim of the government that the project is safe.
“The Department of Environment and Natural Resources said it is not harmful to the environment,” he said. “We agree with that.”
The DENR has yet to provide the latest details on the project which was previously slammed by netizens and environmental advocates.
The Department of Health and marine experts from the University of the Philippines’ Marine Science Institute also earlier warned that aside from the environmental impact brought by the dolomite material, prolonged dust inhalation may cause chronic health effects to the public. These risks include discomfort in the chest, shortness of breath, and coughing.
In September 2020, the agency said measures are in place to ensure that the “white sand” will not be washed away by storms and high tide. It also assured the DOH that the dolomite material used for the project is bigger than dust and does not count as a health hazard.
Vice President Leni Robredo previously said the ₱389 million project could have instead gone to the over 80,000 poor families who were left hungry due to the pandemic.
SOURCE: CNN Philippines