By Deighton Acuin


President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday night once again defended his administration’s ₱389-million Manila Bay rehabilitation project. 

"Dolomite is beautiful to the eyes, period. 'Wag ka na magtanong kasi hindi naman ninyo kaya kung kayo,” Duterte said.

In his second “Talk to the People” address this week, Duterte lauded Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu for his department’s “accomplishments” of the bay’s beautification.

"You had your chance, actually. For so many years, you had every chance to do it. Was there anybody willing to take the problem by its horns? Si Cimatu lang," he added.

The ₱389-million project used crushed dolomite boulders from Cebu to cover some portions of the Manila Bay — a body of water in the Philippines that is famous for its sunset view.

During the same address, Cimatu claimed that the artificial sand has multiple benefits, namely, erosion prevention, beach width expansion, and water filtering.

"It is considered a beach nourishment kasi malaking bagay ang nagagawa niya diyan. Nililinis niya 'yong, na-prevent niya rin ang erosion at tsaka 'yong mga luwag ng beach ay napaluwagan nito," he said.

Starting last January 27, the Manila Bay rehabilitation project gained a hefty amount of criticism from the public as the “beautified” portion seemed to have washed away due to the consecutive onslaught of Typhoons Rolly and Ulysses.

Different groups also said that the funds utilized in the rehabilitation project should have been used in improving COVID-19 referral facilities and equipment instead as adding crushed dolomite will only cause respiratory diseases, among others. 

However, multiple government officials defended the project, saying it was meant to attract the public and to improve mental health amid the ongoing pandemic.