AGHAM to Duterte: Stop unscientific Dolomite beach, ‘rehab project’

We appeal to Pres. Duterte: stop the dolomite beach project and rechannel the funds to COVID-19 pandemic response

We reiterate our call to the government to stop the environmentally destructive dolomite beach nourishment project in Manila Bay. This is a total waste of precious funds that could have been utilized in COVID-19 pandemic response.

DENR has continuously ignored the calls of the scientific community and various stakeholders of Manila Bay as it proceeds with dolomite replenishment as part of the beach nourishment project. We appeal to the President to prevent further damage to Manila Bay by ordering a stop to the project.

DENR’s action is completely lacking in scientific integrity. The project is too costly, not only for the sustainability of the project, but also to living organisms and their natural ecosystems within the Bay. This would be greatly felt by the coastal communities such as the fisher folk who are dependent on the Bay’s marine resources for their main sources of livelihood. Aside from that, the project does not only destroy the ecosystems of Manila Bay but also the ecosystems of the source of dolomite in Cebu.

We, at AGHAM, appeal to Pres. Duterte to use its power to stop the project to prevent further damage to Manila Bay. It must order the DENR to review its Manila Bay rehabilitation plan, which clearly is unscientific.

Since the early part of the project last year, scientists have called on the DENR to carefully study the implications of the reclamation activity. DENR failed to present any evidence that the project will contribute to the rehabilitation of Manila Bay. While dolomite replenishment has been conducted, the agency has yet to produce a research study on the environmental impact of introducing foreign materials in a vulnerable ecosystem like Manila Bay.  Not even a public consultation was conducted.

DENR, the agency that is supposed to implement the Environmental Impact Statement System, is violating its own policies by failing to produce one for this project. How can we trust environmental regulators like the DENR to protect and manage our natural resources when they cannot scientifically justify this beach nourishment project? With its intention to beautify Manila Bay on the surface, DENR’s dolomite beach nourishment project bodes ugly repercussions to the ecosystem.

Competent scientists are more than willing to participate in a genuine Manila Bay rehabilitation plan, but DENR is ignoring our pleas.

The plan that would affect millions of people relying on the Manila Bay must undergo thorough public consultation before being implemented haphazardly.

A genuine rehabilitation means that activities being undertaken contribute to the environmental protection of the Bay, sustains the livelihood of the coastal communities, and provides progress and development for the country.

In the absence of an EIS, the DENR should just rechannel the funds for COVID-19 assistance to the most heavily affected by the pandemic.

Press Release

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