President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday defended the government’s move to pour artificial “white sand” on the shores of Manila Bay, even if the Department of Health (DoH) expressed alarm that hundreds of people trooped to the area without observing one-meter distancing.
In his public address, the President told his Cabinet members to ignore criticisms on Manila Bay’s beach nourishment project, saying that the opposition would find a way to fuss over the administration’s programs.
“People now really enjoy the reclaimed area with the white sand, maski na papaano,” Duterte said.
“‘Yung mga dilawan maski anong sabihin mo — gawin mo, masama ka. Hindi mo gawin, masama ka pa rin. E put*** *na mo. Anong gustong mo?” he added.
The President also lauded Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu for fulfilling his “dare” to rehabilitate the garbage-ridden Manila Bay, known for its picture-perfect sunsets.
Earlier in the day, DoH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said it was worrying that Filipinos went to Manila Bay over the weekend for a chance to view the synthetic white sand — made of crushed dolomite rocks — along Roxas Boulevard.
Visitors were seen taking pictures and holding zumba sessions even if the government discourages Filipinos from doing non-essential things outdoors amid the ongoing pandemic.
Due to the incident, Ermita Police Station Commander Ariel Caramoan was relieved from his post for supposedly failing to implement safety protocols at the controversial baywalk.
Manila Bay grabbed headlines earlier as environmental groups criticized the move to put pulverized rocks along the shores of Manila Bay, saying it would hurt the natural ecosystem in the area and in Cebu, where the dolomites came from.
A dolomite is a calcium magnesium carbonate used for construction works.