A fisherfolk group on Thursday criticized the plan of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to fill the 500-meter stretch of the baywalk with white sand as part of the Manila Bay rehabilitation.
Pamalakaya described the plan as “artificial rehabilitation focusing on aesthetic appearance rather than addressing the environmental degradation problems” of Manila Bay.
“The DENR doesn’t have any concrete plan to restore the bay that it resorts to focus on external beautification which is actually a sham and artificial, instead of a genuine rehabilitation,” Pamalakaya national chairperson Fernando Hicap said in a statement.
“Filling of white sand would less likely contribute to the rehabilitation and restoration of the degrading Manila Bay,” he added.
The group instead called for the restoration of mangrove areas that were destroyed due to destructive conversion projects.
“Why invest in white sand when you can plant mangrove forests and sea grasses that would restore and balance its marine ecosystem?” Hicap asked.
“No amount of white sand and external beauty can restore Manila Bay if such destructive projects are going through. Worse, DENR has approved destructive reclamation projects where mangrove forest was cut down and local crab production is now threatened,” he said.