Duterte wants to bring back Manila Bay's glory; Dolomite sand to be replenished

Published July 27, 2021, 9:39 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte has directed concerned authorities to step up efforts to restore Manila Bay to its former glory after years of pollution.

President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his sixth and final State of the Nation Address before a joint session of Congress on July 26, 2021. (Malacañang)

The Manila Bay rehabilitation efforts will include the continued replenishment of the dolomite sand on the portion of its shoreline until the area returns to normal, according to the President.

“I urge the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) to sustain its efforts and continue working with our LGUs to restore Manila Bay to its former glory,” he said in his sixth and final State of the Nation Address (SONA) Monday, July 26.

The President recognized the need to replenish the Manila Bay with the crushed dolomite rocks after being washed out by the “waves.”

“So every now and then, we still have to replenish because we cannot change the nature of our shores. That is how it is. It is not a permanent fixture there. It is there from the mountains and we break it down and bring it to the sea. But that would occupy that place irrespective of there is a high tide or low tide,” he said.

According to the President, the use of dolomite sand on Manila Bay will be continued until there is “normalcy” in historic bay.

“Nakakatulong ‘yan at nawawala ‘yan (It helps and it gets washed out) And the only way to do it is to replenish it until we can think of a good alternative of how we can process the whole thing back to its normalcy. If there was really normalcy at the time or at any other time in the past,” he said.

For now, the President also cited the government’s efforts to clean up Manila Bay and its surroundings and ensure the protection of the environment.

As of May 2021, he said all illegally operating open dumpsites surrounding Manila Bay have been shut down. At least 151 of 187 local government units surrounding the bay now have access to sanitary landfills. He said establishments were forced to comply with environmental laws and ordinances while those who did not have been closed down.

“As a result, pollutants have been largely reduced and coliform levels — also reduced to its barest maximum — are now on its lowest levels in years if not decades,” he said.

The cleanup and rehabilitation project of Manila Bay became subject to public scrutiny after the government poured crushed dolomite rocks to transform the polluted stretch of shoreline into a white sand beach back in 2020.

Some environmental advocates have questioned the overlaying of the artificial white sand over the Manila Bay shoreline, which they claimed focused on aesthetics instead of addressing the environmental problems.

Malacañang has backed the Manila Bay rehabilitation project, saying it will not only help improve its beach appearance but also address the problems of soil erosion and flooding in the area.