Cebu officials were left “in the dark” about the national government’s plan to get artificial white sand there for the makeover of Manila Bay, a member of the provincial board said Monday.
Provincial Board Member John Ismael Borgonia, chairman of the committee on environment conservation and natural resources, said last Friday that the local government did not give any permit for crushed dolomite boulders to be brought to the shores of the capital.
On Saturday, Borgonia said he learned that the Mines and Geosciences Bureau had issued a permit for the project.
“Hindi natin alam na may permit pala kasi we were left in the dark…Nalaman na lang namin andoon na sa Manila Bay,” he told ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo.
(We did not know there was a permit because we were left in the dark. We only knew about it when the sand was already in Manila Bay.)
“It’s like we’ve been robbed. We were caught by surprise kasi wala namang coordination ang MGB na sa kanila pala naka-permit… Feeling lang namin sa Cebu province, kinukuhanan lang kami nang wala namang at least kurtesiya sa amin,” the official added.
(We were caught by surprise because there was no coordination from the MGB that the permit came from them. We feel in Cebu province that we are sourced for materials without courtesy given to us.)
Several environment groups and experts have questioned the project, saying waves might just wash away the sand and dolomite could be harmful to the health.
Some critics also said the funds could have been better used to help Filipinos cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
The dumping of artificial white sand around Manila Bay was planned before the pandemic and the government cannot junk the contract for this project without a valid reason, Mayor Isko Moreno had said.
Funds for the P389-million Manila Bay rehabilitation that started 2 years ago cannot be diverted for the pandemic, the environment agency earlier said.
TeleRadyo, Sept. 7, 2020