Buhay Party-list Rep. Lito Atienza on Tuesday asked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to stop throwing people’s money down the drain by dumping synthetic white sand – crushed dolomite – onto the polluted Manila Bay.
Atienza, former mayor of Manila, said the DENR must “first address the real problem” of hundreds of tons of sewage dumping in Manila Bay before thinking about using cosmetics that will not last long in covering up the stink.
“What good will covering the Baywalk with artificial sand does when the waters of Manila Bay remain as polluted as ever?” Atienza asked.
The veteran lawmaker said pollution will continue until Metro Manila’s two water concessionaires are able to deliver on its responsibility of putting up wastewater treatment facilities.
The Maynilad Water Services, Inc. and Manila Water Company have “continuously failed” to deliver the treatment facilities from which they have already collected payment for, he said.
“But what’s worse is that since 1997 when the contract started, these two big corporations have been charging consumers for this non-existent service and even been able to borrow money from foreign banks on sovereign guarantee, in the name of the Filipino people,” Atienza stated.
The DENR has ignored the strong opposition against the use of crushed dolomite for the 500-meter Baywalk along the historic Roxas Boulevard in Manila’s tourism area.
Aside from the allegedly overpriced cost of the project, the use of crushed dolomite has been assailed as dangerous to public health.
“We are appealing to the DENR – Don’t fool the people. The waters of Manila Bay will remain unswimmable and deadly for as long as the waters are not cleaned by the two water concessionaires,” said Atienza.
He added: “Building a white sand beach along Manila Bay is a pipedream, or worse, a camouflage for these companies’ failure to do what they should have done in the first place.”
“You seem not to even mind the non-delivery of this service. Let’s stop entertaining people with this song-and-dance routine,” stated the former Manila chief executive.