DENR open to UP expertsâ advice if free
“Our office is open for them. At least, be sure that it will be free,” said DENR Undersecretary and spokesperson Benny Antiporda.
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DENR open to UP experts’ advice if free
Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - October 14, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said it is open to getting advice from experts of the University of the Philippines-Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI) concerning the Manila Bay rehabilitation project provided it is free.

“Our office is open for them. At least, be sure that it will be free,” said DENR Undersecretary and spokesperson Benny Antiporda.

He said the DENR will be constrained from working with UP-MSI if its experts demand high professional fees.

“We are seeking your immediate assistance on this matter. But if it needs a big amount of money, the funds of the people, I’m sorry but our experts are enough,” Antiporda told UP-MSI.

Antiporda said the DENR already has its own set of experts – marine scientists, biologists and geologists –who are actively involved in the Manila Bay rehabilitation project.

He said that based on the DENR’s experience, it requires a lot of money to get the services of UP experts, contrary to public perception that transactions between government agencies are free.

On Sept. 30, UP-MSI released a statement enumerating the environmental problems in Manila Bay that need to be addressed, including poor water quality and threat of erosion.

The institution also cited the implications of using crushed dolomite boulders in the bay, among them erosion, ocean acidification and health problems.

The UP-MSI said “there are no shortcuts to a cleaner environment,” and “at most, it is a beautification effort that is costly and temporary.”

But Antiporda maintained that the project is more than just aesthetics as it is a strategy to promote pro-environment behavior among Filipinos, with the white sand inspiring people to be more mindful of their obligation to keep Manila Bay clean.

He also reassured the public that the funds used for the project will not be put to waste as engineering interventions are being made to prevent the artificial white sand from being washed away.

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