Vice President Leni Robredo said Sunday the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR’s) project to cover Manila Bay with synthetic white sand was “insensitive” and “insulting” to Filipinos who are currently battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Parang napaka-insensitive na gagawin mo ‘yan sa height ng pandemic na ang daming nagugutom, ang daming naghihirap, gagawin mo ‘yung pang-beautify,” Robredo said in her weekly radio show.
(It seems very insensitive that you will do that at the height of the pandemic that many are hungry, many are suffering, you will do the beautifying thing.)
DENR earlier said it allocated P389 million budget to cover the Manila Bay shores with crushed dolomite boulders to discourage people from littering.
Robredo also noted that the Malacanang repeatedly rejected her recommendations for the improvement of the government’s COVID-19 response. The Vice President earlier suggested to give P5,000 to the most impoverished families amid community quarantine but was denied due to a supposed lack of funds.
Robredo: White sand Manila Bay is ‘insensitive,insulting’
“Kahit nga si presidente naririnig natin every press conference, sinasabi niya walang pera, so nakakainsulto ‘pag nakikita ng tao ‘yung ganitong programa na para bang hindi sensitive sa kahirapan,” she said.
(Even though we hear the president every press conference, he says he has no money, so it is insulting when people see such a program as if they are not sensitive to poverty.)
“Ano ba naman ‘yung i-assess natin ‘yung dati nating mga programa na baka naman puwedeng gamitin muna ‘yung mga pera sa mga kailangan kaysa unahin ‘yung hindi kailangan,” Robredo added.
(What is it that we assess our previous programs that may be able to use the money first for what is needed rather than prioritizing what is not required.)
“If the intention of the ‘white sand reclamation’ is to cover up the existing pollution, time would tell when pollutants would leak,” Greenpeace Southeast Asia campaigner Sonny Batungbacal told GMA News Online.
“This is an aesthetic solution and does not solve pollution at the source,” he added.