Etta Rosales asks SC to cite DENR for contempt over Manila Bay dolomite dumping
MANILA, Philippines — A cause-oriented group has asked the Supreme Court to cite the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for contempt for dumping dolomite sand at the Manila Bay as part of its P389-million beautification project.
In a motion, Akbayan Chair Emeritus Etta Rosales, Akbayan Youth Chairperson Dr. RJ Naguit and Akbayan-Manila Youth Leader Rafaela David told the high court that the DENR’s move was in violation of the 2008 continuing mandamus directing the department and other government agencies to protect, rehabilitate and clean the bay.
They also urged the high court to immediately convene the Manila Bay Advisory Committee (MBAC), headed by the Chief Justice himself, to review and determine the effects of the dolomite dumping operations.
“The plans to beautify Manila Bay to the detriment of its ecosystem is a direct violation of the continuing mandamus. The dumping of crushed dolomite boulders on the foreshore areas of Manila Bay contravenes the order.”
“It destroys the Manila Bay ecological habitat that is home to various species of flora and fauna. It exposes human residents to the health hazards of a mineral substance used for construction materials,” the motion stated.
Akbayan said building an artificial white sands beach in Manila Bay is not in line with the DENR’s duty in the continuing mandamus as such is not in the Manila Bay Sustainable Development Master Plan (MBSDMP).
The MBSDMP guides decision-makers in the assessment and approval of projects, programs and activities for implementation in the Manila Bay and in adjacent areas with significant influence on the bay.
It also said that the project is inconsistent with the National Economic Development Authority’s sustainable development plan.
“Clearly, when DENR admitted that its artificial beach enhancement project does not match the plans of NEDA, it also admitted that the project is in direct contravention of the MBSDMP,” it added.
Akbayan also cited the possible health hazards posed by dolomite to the public as it cited a data safety report by the US-based form Lehigh Hanson Inc. that it may cause cancer, damage to the lungs and skin and eye irritation through prolonged and repeated exposure.
“Obviously, there is a need to save Manila Bay. But it has to be saved the right way. Right now, Manila Bay needs to be saved from incompetent and grandstanding public officials who resort to dangerous cosmetic solutions,” Rosales said. [ac]
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