Suspend Manila Bay white sand project, Infrawatch PH appeals to Duterte

Infrastructure-oriented thinktank Infrawatch PH appealed to President Duterte to suspend the implementation of the Manila Bay white sand project as the engineering intervention of the project has supposedly failed with the edges of the artificial beach leeching into the surrounding waters.

Infrawatch PH convenor Terry Ridon said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has not only violated its own regulations, but also failed to get local government approval for the extraction and dumping of dolomite in Cebu and Manila, respectively.

"Sections 26 and 27 of the LGC (Local Government Code) require consultations and the prior approval of the sanggunians in the affected local government units of Cebu and Manila. Both LGUs (local government units) have not issued resolutions approving the extraction and dumping of dolomite in their areas. It is therefore imperative for Manila Mayor Isko Moreno to suspend project implementation unless and until the Manila City Council has approved the dumping of dolomite in their jurisdiction," Ridon said in a statement.

Ridon, who studied growth economics at the Harvard Kennedy School and finance at the Harvard Business School, also pointed out that he does not need lecturing on Math 101 as DENR officials insist. 

"We also find amusing the absolutely erroneous calculations being foisted on the public by DENR officials. We reiterate that regardless of any construction standard, whether by length (cost per km), volume (cost per cubic meter), or as DENR officials insist, by area (cost per square meter), the contract price remains high given estimated costs. DENR officials should note that overpricing remains constant, even if the divisor is changed (i.e. by area or by cubic meter) because overpricing is reflected by the difference between the cost and the price," Ridon said.

"Even if DENR’s project calculation on a per area basis stands at P12,267 per square meter, it will remain overpriced if the contract price remains forty-fifty percent above market costs," he added.

Ridon said he still considers DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda as an old friend despite the personal attacks in his defense of the Manila Bay project, "so I urge him to just stick to the debate on the project’s lack of an environmental compliance certificate and concerns on project costs."