The dumping of artificial white sand around Manila Bay was planned before the COVID-19 pandemic, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno said Monday, as he rejected calls to scrap the project.
Moreno said that while he “understands” criticism that the project’s funds could have been used for the pandemic, “we have to be practical about our situation.”
“This didn’t happen yesterday, last week or last month. This was planned ahead of time, before this pandemic,” he told ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo.
"We cannot just strike down a valid contract without violation of anything under the provision of that contract. Hindi naman maganda iyon, magiging masamang ehemplo ang gobyerno na you change the rule in the middle of the ballgame,” he added.
(It won’t be good for the government to be an example of changing the rule in the middle of the ballgame.)
The environment department “knows it better than anybody else, including me” whether or not the project is harmful to the environment and the public's health, he said.
“As long as it is not proven na ito ay makapaminsala (this is harmful), the city of Manila, in our own little way, are grateful to DENR,” the mayor said.
Funds for the P389-million Manila Bay rehabilitation that started 2 years ago cannot be diverted for the pandemic, the agency earlier said.
TeleRadyo, Sept. 7, 2020