‘Bayaran kayo:’ DENR exec berates UP experts over multi-million consultation fees
MANILA, Philippines — Experts from the University of the Philippines (UP) had “no right” to criticize the Manila Bay makeover project, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) spokesperson Benny Antiporda said on Wednesday as he berated them for allegedly receiving millions in consultation fees.
In a televised briefing, Antiporda even called for an audit of UP’s Marine Science Institute for the funds supposedly given to them by the DENR.
“Base po sa pag-aaral ng inyong likod, kalahating bilyon po ang binayaran namin sa kanila simula 2016 hanggang taong ito. Kalahating bilyon na puro lang po konsultasyon, wala pong infrastructure, walang lahat. Yan yung binayaran natin sa UP [experts] na yan,” Antiporda said.
(According to my studies, half a billion was paid to them from 2016 until this year. Half a billion for consultation, no infrastructure, no anything. That’s what we paid to UP [experts].)
“We are now calling the attention of the Commission on Audit to conduct an audit against the UP. Especially UP Marine Science Institute,” he added.
Antiporda questioned why these UP experts, being working for the government themselves, are charging the government extra for their services, adding that they “do not have the right” to criticize DENR’s projects.
“Ang UP po sa buong pagkaalam natin ay libre dapat yan, ano po? Bakit kayo naniningil sa gobyerno? Matapos kayong pag-aralin ng taumbayan, pagkatapos kayo maging scholar ng taumbayan, sisipsipin niyo ang dugo ng taumbayan sa dami ng kinuha niyong pondo?”
(From what we know, UP should be free right? Why are they [experts] charging the government? After your studies were paid for by the public, after you became scholars of the people, you will suck the blood out of the people with the funds you received?)
“Tapos ngayon, gumagawa kami ng maganda, kailangan magbayad kami sa inyo? Wag naman. Hindi niyo karapatan batikusin ito dahil bayaran kayo. Yun lang po ang masasabi ko sa UP. Uulitin ko, bayaran kayo,” he went on.
(Now that we are doing something good, we have to pay you? That’s not right. You have no right to criticize this because you were paid. That’s all I can say to UP. You were paid for.)
Antiporda was sought for comment on the UP Diliman Institute of Biology’s suggestion to invest in mangroves instead the crushed dolomite laid over a portion of Manila Bay.
Tha DENR official rejected this, saying it “will destroy the landscape.”
“You cannot put it in the middle of baywalk area where it will destroy the landscape, hindi po magandang tignan. And at the same time, hindi po mabubuhay sa lugar na ito yung mangrove,” he said.
(You cannot put it in the middle of a baywalk area where it will destroy the landscape, it’s not good to look at. At the same time, mangrove cannot live in this area.)
INQUIRER.net has sought for UP’s comment on the matter, but has yet to receive a response, as of this writing.
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