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No funds for dolomite beach under proposed Manila Bay rehab budget — DENR

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No funds for dolomite beach under proposed Manila Bay rehab budget â DENR
Families flock at the "dolomite beach" at Manila Bay, which was opened to the public on July 18, 2021. Visitors are asked to observe strict health protocols.
The STAR / Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines — The proposed budget for the rehabilitation of Manila Bay did not include funds for the artificial white sand beach made from crushed dolomite rocks, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said on Wednesday.

The P1.6 billion proposed budget for the rehabilitation program will be used to clean rivers and esteros, construct treatment plants and remove water hyacinths in Laguna and Rizal provinces, DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.

“The P1.6 billion will comprise not for the dolomite, because the budget for dolomite was already given to us during 2020 and 2019,” Leones said.

The use of pulverized dolomite in the DENR’s beach nourishment project was met with criticism, with scientists and groups saying that the project is a costly and temporary effort that will not address the bay’s problems.

In a statement on Tuesday, fishers’ group Pamalakaya said the DENR “doesn’t deserve a single centavo for its Manila Bay rehabilitation program.”

Leones also claimed that the beach nourishment area will remain intact even if there is a strong typhoon.

“I think with the geointerventions we have installed in the area, we are confident that even during strong typhoons and strong waves, I think they cannot move the beach nourishment area or they cannot be eroded,” he said.

During his final State of the Nation Address, President Rodrigo Duterte said the dolomite beach area needs regular replenishment until the government thinks of a better solution to Manila Bay’s environmental problems.

The DENR is seeking a P25.29-billion budget for 2022 to finance programs that seek to steer the government’s agenda toward “green growth” for a more equitable and sustainable future.

It said that P9.7 billion of the proposed budget will be allocated to the department’s priority programs which include the Enhanced National Greening Program, enhanced biodiversity conservation, Manila Bay rehabilitation and solid waste management, among others. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

MANILA BAY REHABILITATION
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