Duterte defends dolomite project on Manila Bay anew: Dolomite is beautiful

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 27) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday evening once again defended the overlaying of crushed dolomite on the shore of Manila Bay, as he recalled the projects of his administration.

During a recorded "Talk to the People" program, Duterte asked Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu to present the agency's previous initiatives, which included the rehabilitation of Boracay and Manila Bay.

Duterte then hit back at critics of the so-called Manila Bay "white sand" project, which had drawn the doubt and ire of experts and environmentalists. 

"Dolomite is beautiful to the eyes. Period," said the President. "Wag ka nang magtanong kasi hindi naman ninyo kaya kung kayo [Do not ask, because you would not be able to do it]."

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

The ₱389-million project aimed to improve the bay's water quality and the coastline's appearance, but it has been heavily condemned as experts deemed it ineffective in actually addressing the area's environmental issues. Other critics called it a waste of taxpayers' money.

Marine scientists from the University of the Philippines also said the sand could pose health problems given that dolomite has fine particles which can be inhaled. However, the Health Department denied that the sand could cause adverse health effects.

Criticism fell on deaf ears as the government dumped a fresh batch of sand in April this year. 

But Duterte himself earlier admitted that the sand gets washed away and needs continuous replenishment until there is a "good alternative."