Pagkakaisa ng Mga Alyansa ng Mga Mangingisda sa Pilipinas (PANGISDA-Pilipinas) held a protest on Monday in front of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) against the white sand project in Manila Bay.
According to Pablo Rosales, chairperson of PANGISDA-Pilipinas, DENR implemented a project that could harm the waters in Manila Bay.
“Isa itong parang kataksilan dahil sila mismong nangangasiwa sa ating kalikasan, karagatan ay nangunguna ngayon sa reclamation project na ito,” Rosales said.
“Walang pera para sa mga mangingisdang nanghihingi ng tulong para sa epekto ng pandemya. Pero meron palang kulang na P400 milyon na gagamitin para rito na ipinambili ng dolomite sa Cebu,” he added.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año earlier refuted claims of critics that the white sand in Manila Bay made out of crushed dolomite rocks could pose hazards to the people and the environment.
The DILG chief said that the crushed dolomite is a common material used in beach nourishment projects nationwide and across the world.
“The Department of Health (DOH) has already clearly stated that the dolomite used in Baywalk is bigger than dust, which doesn’t get suspended in air, and therefore is not harmful to people,” Año, who is vice chairman of the Manila Bay Task Force.
Group of fishermen protests against Manila Bay white sand project
“Dolomite in its bulk state is not a known health hazard and dolomite in dust form, like any other dust particle, can lead to symptoms such as chest discomfort, shortness of breath, and coughing for this is our body’s normal reaction to irritants,” the DOH said in a statement.
Meanwhile, former Manila Mayor and current Buhay party-list Representative Lito Atienza said the project is “worthless” and “a complete waste of public funds.”
“No amount of pretentious face-lifting can change the fact that Manila Bay’s marine and coastal ecosystems are practically dead – because its waters have been overwhelmed by fecal coliform,” Atienza added.