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Environmental groups eye writ of kalikasan vs. Manila Bay white sand project


Environmental groups are considering filing a petition for a writ of kalikasan to stop the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) from covering the stretch of Manila Bay's rocky shore with white sand.

In a forum on Monday, ocean conservation organization Oceana Philippines vice president Gloria Estenzo Ramos said the filing of the petition is just one of the actions the environmental groups are discussing.

“It's always an option under the rules of procedure for environmental cases, even a threat to destruction. Ito nga may destruction na eh. It is a ground for applying a writ of kalikasan,” Ramos said.

“Mag-meeting ang mga environmental groups on this and pag-uusapan ano 'yung mga next steps, ano 'yung action na gagawin,” she added.

Fisherfolk groups alliance Pamalakaya president Fernando Hicap said they are determined on stopping the project of the DENR, describing it as a waste of taypayers' money.

“Sa Pamalakaya, talagang seryoso kami na ihinto. Hindi po ito ang solusyon. Nagsasayang tayo ng pera at hindi po rehabilitation 'to. Hindi 'to makatutulong para ma-rehabilitate ang Manila Bay,” Hicap said.

Lou Arsenio, program coordinator Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila Ministry of Ecology, suggested that a temporary restraining order should be issued against white sand project for a faster response.

"Ang problema sa ganun mahabang proseso 'yan e, 'yung pag-file ng writ of kalisakasan. Ang dapat diyan siguro temporary restraining order muna,” she said.

“I am sure it is a material pero mahabang proseso 'yan baka bago pa, tapos na 'yung project nila diyan. So baka temporary restraining order,” Arsenio added.

The writ of kalikasan is a remedy for unlawful actions which violate the right to a balanced and healthful ecology.

The DENR is planning to fill 500 meters of the baywalk on Roxas Boulevard with white sand under the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program.

“Gagawin white sand itong, dito sa may bay walk 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 said.

Antiporda earlier clarified that it is not white sand that will be used to fill the stretch but crushed "dolomite boulders" from Cebu. —KBK, GMA News