A better option
THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) - October 12, 2020 - 12:00am

Instead of laying crushed dolomite on roughly 500 meters of coastline on Manila Bay, the rehabilitation of mangroves should have been a better option. This is the statement of the UP Institute of Biology, another group of experts questioning the move of the DENR to beautify the place. Science should have played a major part, not just aesthetics. The laying of dolomite did not help at all in solving the problems of Manila Bay, particularly the pollution. Claiming dolomite has no long-term adverse effects on nature is also untrue. Even senators are criticizing the DENR's "dolomite beach" citing the 2008 Supreme Court writ of mandamus made no mention of simply beautifying the beach but to improve water quality.

Surely, the DENR will not listen or give any weight to any group or persons criticizing the project. All that matters to them is President Duterte's approval of the project. The project cost P389 million where crushed dolomite was transported from Cebu to Manila Bay which included P28 million to purchase and transport. Definitely not a small amount.

But only last month DENR Sec. Roy Cimatu suspended the operations of the two companies mining dolomite due to the alleged destruction of the environment particularly the coral reefs. The allegations are currently being investigated before they can be allowed to continue. Earlier, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia ordered to stop the operations of the two companies because apparently they were not authorized.

Because of the current turmoil in the leadership of the Lower House, the passage of the budget for the coming year is delayed because deliberations are not yet over. That budget includes a huge amount for the fight against COVID-19 and everything related to it. That is why Duterte himself has ordered the House to have extended sessions to pass the said budget even threatening to do it for them. It is ironic to hear the Palace wanting the budget passed for pandemic fund use when hundreds of millions have been spent on a project that only seems to attract criticism instead of praise. Sure, you can walk on dolomite beach but will you swim in its waters? Will you appreciate whatever odors are emanating from Manila Bay? It is really difficult to understand the priorities of the administration during a pandemic. I would hate to see all that going to waste if it is true that strong storms or a storm surge would wash everything away.

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