âManila Bay makeover part of rehabilitation â
“On the issue of the Manila Bay rehabilitation, per the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the report that ‘white sand’ is being used to fill the stretch of the Baywalk is erroneous,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.
KJ Rosales, file
‘Manila Bay makeover part of rehabilitation ’
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - September 5, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang defended yesterday the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)’s makeover of Manila Bay’s shoreline.

“On the issue of the Manila Bay rehabilitation, per the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the report that ‘white sand’ is being used to fill the stretch of the Baywalk is erroneous,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.

He said the project has been in the pipeline even before the onset of the pandemic.

“This forms part of the cleaning up of the Manila Bay rehabilitation program with an allocated budget,” the Palace official said.

The P384-million “beach nourishment” project for Manila Bay received flak for the use of the crushed dolomite boulders transported from Cebu to Manila.

In an interview with “The Chiefs” on OneNews/TV5 on Thursday night, DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said they decided to come up with the project so Metro Manila’s residents would enjoy “Boracay feels.”

He said the target is to fill in 500 meters of the Baywalk area with the crushed dolomite after the silt was removed.

DENR data show that fecal coliform levels “drastically decreased” in January, a year after the Manila Bay rehabilitation kicked off.

The coliform count at the Padre Faura outfall is down to 920,000 most probable number per 100 milliliter from 7.21 million mpn/100 ml in January 2019.

From 35 million mpn/100 ml at the Raja Soliman/Remedios drainage outfall, the coliform count dropped to 11 million mpn/100 ml.

The coliform count at the Manila Yacht Club outfall is now 54 million mpn/100 ml from a high of 110 million mpn/100 ml.

Manila Bay’s waters would be safe for swimming at 100 mpn/100 ml.

Department of Public Works and Highways Undersecretary for regional operations in Metro Manila, the Visayas and Region 4-B, Roberto Bernardo said yesterday the newly rehabilitated stretch of Manila Bay is tentatively set to open for recreation, including swimming, by Sept. 19.

“We are eyeing Manila Bay as another Boracay within the country’s capital. Right now, we are already on the finishing touches,” he said.

The DENR classified the bay as “Class SB” meant for the commercial propagation of shellfish, a spawning area for milkfish, ecotourism and contact recreational activities such as bathing, swimming and skin diving. – Rhodina Villanueva, Jose Rodel Clapano, Elizabeth Marcelo, Rey Galupo

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