Critics eyeing writ of kalikasan vs Manila Bay white sand project
Robie de Guzman • September 7, 2020 • 405
MANILA, Philippines – Several environmental groups are planning to file a petition for writ of kalikasan to halt the project of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to pour white sand along the shoreline of Manila Bay.
Ocean conservation group Oceana Philippines vice president Gloria Estenzo Ramos said lodging a petition is one of the actions they are discussing to respond to DENR’s white sand project.
“It’s always an option under the rules of procedure for environmental cases, even a threat to destruction. Ito nga may destruction na e, kaya it’s a ground for applying for writ of kalikasan. Mag-meeting ang mga environmental groups on this,” she said in a forum on Monday.
Fisherfolk group Pamalakaya president Fernando Hicap also opposed the project, saying that it is only a waste of taxpayers’ money.
“Ipahinto natin. Hindi po talaga ito yung solusyon. Nagsasayang tayo ng pera at hindi po rehabilitation to. Hindi to makakatulong sa pagrehabilitate sa Manila Bay.”
DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said they are prepared to face the petition and defend the merits of the project.
“If they say na yung proteksyon natin sa shoreline din natin e mali, well it’s up to them. It’s their right to file their case against us,” he said.
“We’re there to clean it up and we’re there to make it beautiful, ok? So, if that is their allegation, i-prove nila na talagang merong violation kaming nagawa, yun lang ang amin. Well, basically I don’t see any violation in what we’ve done,” he added. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)
MANILA, Philippines — In his public address Monday evening (September 21), President Rodrigo Duterte lauded the efforts of Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu in the full rehabilitation of Manila Bay.
The President expressed his high confidence in Cimatu despite criticisms on the use of crushed dolomite boulders to cover the coastline of Manila Bay and the timing of the project amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think everybody was there when I said, ‘Roy, kaya mong linisin ‘to (can you clean this up)?’ And his answer was a very curtly given, ‘Kaya kong trabahuhin (I can work on it),'” the President recalled quoting Cimatu.
The President also noted that it is common for the opposition to criticize the government in all of its undertakings and specifically, the President himself.
“Wala naman talaga tayong magawa (We really cannot do anything). You do it, may masabi sila (they have something to say). You do not do it, may masabi si Leni (Leni has something to say about it too),” he added, referring to Vice President Leni Robredo who is the leader of the opposition.
“They are trying to delude people. They are trying to picture that there’s a failure of government. We have done our best,” Duterte stressed.
He also said the opposition should not be adding to the already heavy burden of the country brought by the pandemic.
Robredo has questioned on multiple occasions, the government’s COVID-19 response and criticized its seeming lack of direction.
“Alam mo Leni kung gusto mo (You know Leni, if you want), if you really want to do away with the COVID, i-sprayhan natin itong Pilipinas o Manila ng pesticide galing sa eroplano para patay lahat (let’s spray the whole Philippines or Manila with pesticide from a plane to kill them all) […] Do not add something to the pandemic by making such reckless statements na (that) we are not doing enough,” Duterte said addressing Robredo. MNP (wirh reports from Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Philippines – A video taken by Regine Nequia, president of Baseco Seaside Neighborhood Association (BASA), showed dead fish floating in Manila Bay near the Baseco Compound on Thursday (September 17) morning.
She said that a similar incident have happened in the past, but the amount of dead fish has not been as large.
Residents are asking authorities to look into the matter not only because their livelihoods depend on the bay, but also because of the stench coming from the rotting fish.
“Ang mga nawalan ng trabaho dyan kumukuha ng pangaraw-araw ding ulam, [Residents who lost their jobs get their daily meal from the fish there],” Nequia said.
“Iyog mga mangingisda naman sa ngayon ay sadyang nababahala kasi dyan nila kinukuha yung kanilang pangkabuhayan, [Fishermen, meanwhile, expressed concern over the incident as they depend (on the bay) for their income],” she added.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has refuted claims that the dolomite or artificial white sand being dumped along Roxas Boulevard was the cause of the fish kill in the bay.
According to Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda, the Baseco area is way far from Roxas Boulevard and the two sections are divided by a breakwater.
He also noted that it seems impossible that the fish kill happened only in Baseco area but not in the Roxas Boulevard area where the dolomite dumping is located.
“It’s impossible na iyong fish kill nandoon lang sa lugar nila pero ang nourishment nandito sa kabila. Also, there is a big divider which is the breakwater so it is really impossible na dito sa atin nanggaling iyon,” Antiporda said.
The official cited similar incidents of fish kill that occurred in October last year which happened in the portions of Las Piñas and Parañaque but that was caused by the lowering of oxygen level in the water.
Nonetheless, Antiporda is not discounting the possibility of a sabotage or someone putting poison in that part of the bay to discredit the ongoing beach nourishment project.
“Mas gusto natin tingnan iyong positive side rather than may nanabotahe but hindi din namin dini-discount iyan at tinitingnan naming mabuti kung meron pa rin bang cyanide fishing,” he said.
The agency has taken water samples from Baseco area and from the site of the white beach project to help in the investigation. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)
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