Sep 24, 2020 @ 13:39

Groups formally ask SC to cite DENR in contempt over Manila Bay white sand

Akbayan Partylist and its youth wing, Akbayan Youth, on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to cite the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in contempt for the controversial dumping of dolomite sand in Manila Bay.

In a motion, the groups led by Akbayan chair emeritus Etta Rosales, Akbayan Youth chairperson Dr. RJ Naguit, and Akbayan-Manila Youth leader Rafaela David asked the SC to declare the DENR’s act of dumping dolomite sand along Manila Bay as a direct violation of its continuing mandamus.

They also called on the SC to immediately convene the Manila Bay Advisory Committee (MBAC), headed by Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta himself, to review and determine the effects of the dolomite dumping operations.

Rosales, who is also a former Akbayan Partylist lawmaker, explained that the SC, recognizing the massive environmental pollution of Manila Bay, issued a continuing mandamus judgment in 2008 ordering the DENR and other relevant agencies to protect and clean the area even in the absence of a pollution incident and to submit quarterly progressive reports of the activities undertaken in accordance with the ruling.

Rosales noted that the DENR’s dumping of dolomite sand which threatens public health and the environment was not in line with the Manila Bay Sustainable Development Master Plan.

Also, the groups disclosed that the refusal of the DENR to fulfill its obligation to submit public reports on the artificial beach enhancement project as gross and direct violations of the SC’s continuing mandamus judgment.

“Obviously, there is a need to save Manila Bay. But it has to be saved the right way. Right now, Manila Bay needs to be saved from incompetent and grandstanding public officials who resort to dangerous cosmetic solutions,” Rosales said.

Naguit, for his part, said that it is foolish for the government to embark on a wasteful project that threatens the public’s health amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Ito ay isang malaking banta sa kaban ng bayan, kalikasan at ating kalusugan. As if the pandemic is not bad enough, the government has added another threat to the health and safety of the people by dumping dangerous artificial sand along Manila Bay. The money for this fake sand project could have been better utilized if it was allocated instead to the budget of public hospitals and health workers,” Naguit said.

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