More crushed dolomite needed to complete Manila Bay ‘white beach’ – DENR exec
MANILA, Philippines — Additional crushed dolomite is needed to finish the Manila Bay “white beach” project, an official of the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) admitted Friday.
Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said the crushed dolomite that previously arrived and covered a portion of Manila Bay to create the white beach was not enough but assured that the next delivery of the fake “white sand” would be of no extra cost to the government.
“Aaminin natin kulang ‘yung dolomite na dumating sa atin, kung kaya’t mapapansin ninyo talagang kakarampot lang. Pero dahil sa doon sa, nagiisip na babayaran pa muli sa susunod na delivery nagkakamali po kayo. ‘Yung P389 million for the 500 meters na po ‘yun. ‘Yung buong proyekto na po ‘yun, wala na idadagdag na i-gagastos doon ‘yung ating pondo,” Antiporda said during an online press conference on updates regarding the Manila Bay rehabilitation project.
(We admit that the dolomite that arrived was lacking, that’s why, if you notice, it’s really inadequate. But for those who are thinking that the next delivery would have to be paid again, you are wrong. The P389 million, that’s for the 500 meters already. That’s for the whole project already, no more additional cost from our fund.)
According to Antiporda, only 120 meters of the 500-meter project area in the Manila Bay have been filled so far with the artificial white sand.
Asked about where they plan to source more crushed dolomite, Antiporda said: “That is the problem of the contractor and the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways).”
Antiporda also promised that the contractor of the Manila Bay Nourishment Project is tasked to ensure that there will be no issues with the crushed dolomites that will be used on the bay walk.
“Any untoward incident na mangyari, gumuho man ‘yan (dolomite), lumubog man ‘yan, well walang lugi ang tao diyan because they (contractor) need to do something about that,” he said.
(Any untoward incident that would happen, if there is erosion, if it would sink, the people will not lose in this situation because it’s the contractor that should do something about that.)
Previously, the DENR suspended two mining companies in Cebu that produced the crushed dolomite for the project after the firms reportedly destroyed corals in waters near its site.
Meanwhile, DENR Assistant Secretary Darius Nicer, head of the Manila Bay Task Force Operations Center, said “there is no definitive proof that any substantial portion of the dolomite beach has been washed away.”
“If you make a conclusion, (that) the beach is washed away, then it should be based on measurements, based on beach area measurement and volumetric measurement,” he said in response to claims that the white sand is being washed away from the shores of Manila Bay.
Nicer also said that the dolomite mining companies were an “ongoing business” that was approved by the DENR in the 2000s, which means it was not approved for the purpose of the white sand beach project.
“Just to dispel any conspiracy theory that the dolomite mining in Cebu was initiated, conducted [for] the purpose of Beach Nourishment Baywalk, it is an ongoing business and it was approved 20 years ago by the DENR,” he said.
Nicer further noted that he was also previously a consultant for the DENR review committee on the dolomite mining company in Cebu.