'Life goes on': Mayor Isko uninformed but not against dumping crushed dolomite along Manila Bay coast

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 15) — Manila Mayor Isko Moreno revealed on Thursday that he was not informed about the fresh batch of dolomite sand that was dumped along the Manila Baywalk, but noted that there is nothing wrong about the ongoing ₱389 million project.

In an interview with CNN Philippines' The Source, Moreno said other government initiatives may still continue amid the COVID-19 fight. This includes the controversial "white sand" project which critics earlier slammed as "mere aesthetics" and waste of taxpayers' money.

"Life must go on. Things must move on," the mayor said. "All other things in the government in terms of vision, aspirations, future development for midterm and long-term, must be done simultaneously while we're fighting against the pandemic. We cannot stop."

Photos taken by CNN Philippines on Wednesday showed heavy equipment dumping the artificial sand along Roxas Boulevard, with the new haul covering darker-colored sand.

LOOK: Fresh batch of dolomite dumped along Manila Bay coast 

Moreno also supported the previous claim of the government that the project is safe.

"The Department of Environment and Natural Resources said it is not harmful to the environment," he said. "We agree with that."

The DENR has yet to provide the latest details on the project which was previously slammed by netizens and environmental advocates.

The Department of Health and marine experts from the University of the Philippines' Marine Science Institute also earlier warned that aside from the environmental impact brought by the dolomite material, prolonged dust inhalation may cause chronic health effects to the public. These risks include discomfort in the chest, shortness of breath, and coughing.

In September 2020, the agency said measures are in place to ensure that the "white sand" will not be washed away by storms and high tide. It also assured the DOH that the dolomite material used for the project is bigger than dust and does not count as a health hazard.

READ: DENR: Measures in place so Manila Bay's white sand won't get washed away

Vice President Leni Robredo previously said the ₱389 million project could have instead gone to the over 80,000 poor families who were left hungry due to the pandemic.

READ: Funds for Manila Bay's 'white sand' project could have fed 80,000 hungry families - Robredo