- Despite criticisms and warnings from the Department of Health, the Palace believes that the government made the right decision regarding the artificial white sand in Manila Bay.
- The Palace also defended its budget for the project saying that it was already allotted even before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Department of Health (DOH) expressed worry about the overcrowding at the Manila Bay over the “white sand beach” over the weekend.
The agency emphasized that it is a dangerous situation as social distancing was ignored around the area. This may raise the possibility of COVID-19 transmissions as people have breached health protocols.
“Kailangan lang po mapaalalahanan ang ating mga kababayan na ito po ay delikadong sitwasyon. Baka magkaroon ng paghawa-hawa ang mga pumunta dyan na hindi naipapatupad ang minimum health standards,” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
However, despite the DOH’s concerns and warnings, Malacanang said that seeing the number of people who visited the artificial white sand is proof that the project is the right decision.
According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, they understood the reason why people flocked to the place.
“Naintindihan po natin yan, dahil ‘yan po ay nagpapatunay na tama ang desisyon ng DENR at siyudad ng Maynila na lalo pang pagandahin ang Manila Bay,” he said.
He then proceeded to remind the public that the violation of social distancing guidelines can be dangerous and appealed to the public to not crowd the area.
“Magkakaroon din po kayo ng pagkakataon ma-enjoy ang Manila Bay.”
The artificial white sand project drew criticism from officials, environmental groups, and netizens, saying that the project is completely unnecessary as the country is still suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic. People also pointed out that the budget should’ve been allocated to help Filipinos instead.
The Palace then defended the project, saying that the funds used were already allocated last year, even before the virus was discovered.