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Not enough budget for COVID-19 response? White sand project for Manila Bay costs Php389 million

Netizens criticized the project saying that the government could’ve used it for its COVID-19 response.

  • DENR to spend Php389 million to put white sand at Manila Bay.
  • The agency explained that the budget was allotted for the project since last year, way before the pandemic started.

Critics expressed disapproval of Manila Bay’s white sand makeover. Environmentalists and fishermen questioned the latest project of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) where they will start pouring “white sand” on the 500 meter stretch of Manila Bay’s shoreline.

It is a part of the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program that was launched back in January 2019 to improve the bay’s condition from decades of pollution and urban blight. It was launched by DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu as ordered by the Supreme Court.

“We’ll make the coastline white sand so that when people see it, they will realize that they need to take care of this and protect this,” Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda stated.

The project costs Php389 million and according to Antiporda, the funds were already allocated last year, even before the pandemic started.

“Matagal na po itong project na ito. Last year pa ito. Hindi po ito ngayong pandemic lang. Na-allocate na po yung funds niyan and naumpisahan na po yan last year pa. Yung silt removal nag-umpisa po yan, yung pagtanggal ng burak sa ilalim.”

Netizens have criticized the project as President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly said that the funds of the government are not enough for the country’s COVID-19 response however, millions of pesos will be spent for the white sand at Manila Bay.

“Nauna pa white sand sa manila bay worth 389M pero walang gawing aksyon sa COVID,” a Twitter user wrote.

Others said that there are so many meaningful projects that the money could’ve funded instead of the potential white sand beach in Manila.

DENR stated that the public may already visit Manila Bay after the International Coastal Clean-Up Day on September 19. However, they added that there are still dangers when it comes to swimming on the beach as the water’s coliform level is still high.

Written by Jacks

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