The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is expediting the rehabilitation of Manila Bay despite criticisms against its beach nourishment project.
At the Laging Handa briefing on Monday, Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said the DENR aims to complete the project and open it to the public next month.
“The DENR is fast-tracking everything. Secretary Roy Cimatu personally supervises the project,” said Antiporda. “Rest assured that our countrymen will notice big changes in the appearance of Manila Bay.”
Earlier, environmentalists and fisherfolk said the dumping of crushed dolomite along the shoreline would not help solve the root of the environmental problems in Manila Bay.
Critics also pointed out that the project was ill-timed as the country is still facing a health crisis and its effects on the economy.
Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said last September that the project was approved by Congress under the 2019 national budget, it underwent competitive bidding, and was awarded before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Malaya also said that only P28 million of the P389-million allocation for Manila Bay's rehabilitation and cleanup was used for the crushed dolomite.
“The government cannot simply stop a project when it is already under contractual obligation to proceed. We also have a responsibility to clean up and rehabilitate Manila Bay for ourselves and future generations,” he said. — DVM, GMA News