The Philippines is well-known for its white-sand beaches, but artificial white sand dumped on the coast of Manila Bay? That sounds a little bit off, right?
GMA’s 24 Oras reported that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) intends to pile a 500-meter stretch of the baywalk with white sand.
“Gagawin white sand itong, dito sa may baywalk area para makita ng tao na kapag puti ang kulay ng isang bagay, kailangan pangalagaan mo ito at wag mo dumihan,” DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda explained.
While its intention seems good, DENR’s latest project gained criticisms from netizens, eco groups, and experts, citing that it doesn’t really address the environmental concerns in Manila Bay.
Moreover, it also appears as another misplaced priority of the government amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The project’s P379-million budget could have been used in purchasing personal protective equipment (PPEs) for frontliners, gadgets for students for online learning, or test kits for the general public.
Another issue that makes the project look worse, an official in Cebu revealed that the crushed dolomite boulders didn’t go through proper authorization under the provincial government.
“We have autonomy. Even if it was undertaken by the government, they have to secure permits and ask the consent of the local government unit,” said Cebu Provincial Board Member John Ismael Borgonia, urging a probe into the unauthorized extraction of minerals.
“As far as I know, there was no prior communication. We have not issued permits, or we didn’t allow or give our consent to extract white sand. We were caught by surprise that it came from Cebu,” Borgonia stressed.