DENR exec to UP experts: ‘If you are for free, we are willing to collaborate with you’
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is willing to collaborate with experts from the University of the Philippines (UP) for the Manila Bay rehabilitation as long as the consultation is free, an official of the DENR said on Friday.
In a press conference regarding updates on Manila Bay, DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said it is “unfair” to say that they are not consulting experts on Manila Bay rehabilitation, which includes the controversial “white sand” beach.
“Telling us again na hindi kami nag-consult sa mga experts (we do not consult with experts), that’s very unfair, all of the people here in DENR, were being paid because of our expertise,” he said.
He then said he is willing to coordinate with the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UPMSI) for their tips on the Manila Bay rehabilitation as long as it is for “free.”
“All experts are here (DENR). Marine scientists nandito mayroon po tayong biologists, mayroong geologists. Kumpleto po tayo rito. Well, telling us that we need to consult with the UPMSI, we welcome their statement saying that they are willing to help us,” Antiporda said.
“Well, our office is open for them and I myself will offer them one of my tables, but please be sure that it will be for free because every time we consult them, we pay so much money that people don’t know,” he added.
Antiporda noted that their experts are enough if university experts ask for a large amount for their expertise.
“You know we are paying hundreds of millions. You tell the people the truth. Don’t mislead them on this,” he said.
“If you are for free, we are willing to collaborate with you and we are seeking your immediate assistance for this matter, but if it needs a big amount of the funds of people, I’m sorry, but I think our experts are enough for this,” Antiporda further said.
In a statement on Oct. 2, the UPMSI criticized the crushed dolomite used for the white sand beautification of the Manila Baywalk.
“There are no short-cuts to a cleaner environment. The use of crushed dolomite sand will not help solve the environmental problems in Manila Bay. At most, it is a beautification effort that is costly and temporary. The task of cleansing and restoring Manila Bay may be daunting, but it needs to be done for future generations of Filipinos to benefit from its many users,” it said. [ac]
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