Fishers’ group urged Antiporda to resign over Manila Bay mess
Manila, Philippines – “No amount of apologies can change the fact that Mr. Antiporda is ignoramus of environmental science. The best thing he could to is to quit his post for his continuous rationalization of an irrational project,” according to the militant fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA), calling the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary Benny Antiporda to “tender his resignation anytime starting today” over Manila Bay fiasco, particularly the widely-criticized dumping of dolomite white sand along the Manila Baywalk shoreline.
PAMALAKAYA said that Usec. Antiporda “deserves strong condemnation for his tirade against University of the Philippines (U.P.) experts” who raised concerns on the dolomite dumping, and instead proposed mangroves for Manila Bay rehabilitation.
“The audacity of Mr. Antiporda to lash out at our competent yet underfunded scientists when it is himself who has no moral ascendancy to become an environmental official,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
PAMALAKAYA backed the proposal of U.P. experts on mangroves planting, instead of beach nourishment project, citing their earlier statement that at least 13, 000 hectares of mangroves that are vital to Manila Bay’s marine ecosystem and biodiversity could be planted using DENR’s budget for dolomite dumping worth P389 million.
According to a study by Primevera and Esteban (2008), mangrove planting costs at least $607.7 or P28, 886.1 per hectare, which means that the DENR’s P389 million for Manila Bay beautification could plant a total of 13, 469 hectares of mangroves.
The fishers’ group asserted that the DENR violated the 2008 Supreme Court mandamus on Manila Bay rehabilitation when the agency “wasted P389 million for a project that is irrelevant to rehabilitation”.
“Mr. Antiporda is already making a fool of himself defending this ill-planned project. He can never justify the gradual disappearance of the synthetic white sand because whether they were washed in or washed out, it’s certain that it would fade away by any means. He should highly consider his resignation as he has no moral and political grounds to become an environment official,” Hicap ended. ###