MANILA– Malacañang corrected Friday reports that natural white sand was being used to cover the baywalk of the Manila Bay, saying "crushed dolomite boulders" were being utilized.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he received information from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on the use of crushed sedimentary rocks–which appear like white sand, for the rehabilitation project.
"…Per the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the report that 'white sand' is being used to fill the stretch of the baywalk is erroneous," Roque said in a statement.
He added that funds for the program were already allocated even before the pandemic started.
Environmental groups such as Greenpeace have criticized the dumping of synthetic white sand in the baywalk as an unnecessary part of the government's Manila Bay clean up program.
Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda however said the project was meant to bring the beach experience closer to Filipinos who could not travel.
“Kung hindi man sila makapunta ng Boracay, Bohol, Palawan, or Cebu, itong mga kababayan sa Maynila, ilalapit natin sa kanila ang white sand dito sa baywalk area,” Antiporda told ABS-CBN News on Thursday.
(If they could not go to Boracay, Bohol, Palawan, or Cebu, we can bring the white sand experience closer to those here in Manila.)
As the Philippines moves to reinvigorate tourism, Roque said the national government is already in coordination with local government units on the resumption of travel.
"We must, however, emphasize that there must be proper and close coordination between the national government and the LGUs regarding the implementation of health and safety protocols when traveling," he said.