President Rodrigo Duterte cannot realign the P389 million budget for the adorning of dolomite sand along Manila Bay because the project had been executed, the Palace said Monday.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque maintained that the budget for the dolomite initiative, dubbed as the Beach Nourishment Project by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), is not covered by the Bayanihan 1 and 2 laws which allowed the President to realign billions in funds for the government's COVID-19 response.
"Iyang budget po sa dolomite ay matagal na po iyang nasa budget ng DENR; hindi po iyan bagong budget. At bagama’t mayroon po tayong Bayanihan Law that allows the President to realign funds, hindi po applicable iyan doon sa mga funds na na-commit na po ‘no," Roque said.
(The funding for this dolomite project cannot be realigned as provided under Bayanihan laws because this budget has long been committed.)
"Puwedeng ma-realign ang ilang mga pondo na hindi pa po siya naa-align for a specific purpose. Pero ito po, completely bidded out and partially executed, so kinakailangan pong tapusin iyan," he added.
(You can realign a budget that is yet to be earmarked for a specific purpose. This project, however, had been bidded out and was partially executed so it needs to be finished.)
The Beach Nourishment Project was opened to the public back in September 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The conservation group Oceana, however, said over the weekend that much of the dolomite sand, including those for replenishment placed just last February, had been eroded out to sea. — DVM, GMA News