Recently, ANC host Karen Davila interviewed Mayor Isko Moreno to sought his comment on the controversy sorrounding the Manila Bay Project.
As usual, the host Karen Davila and her guest Mayor Isko Moreno of Manila exchanged pleasantries before diving in to the interview.
Immediately Davila, who was beaming with confidence, went to work and told Moreno that she will start by talking about senators voicing out their concerns against the dumping of white sand in Manila Bay. You already have lawmakers calling for the project to temporarily be stopped and investigated. Dapat tanungin muna ang lungsod ng Maynila. I know you support the project but when it comes to the timing and priorities, do you believe that it should be temporarily stopped first?
Moreno replied by asking Davila what will be the major reason to stop and what are we going to gain when we stop. It’s long overdue Karen. Lert’s be fair to the environmentalist who foguht for this for 20 years, Karen. Nakipaglaban ang mga environmentalist na linisin ang Manila Bay. Then, fortunately for them, the Supreme Court already decided on the matter. Fromt he lower court to the higher court requiring all local governments for the need to act by clearing up the Bay. Now, there must be a valid reason to stop this project. This is a rehabiliation…let’s go back to its basic principle. Bka lang nakakaligtaan. This is the rehabilitation of the entire Manila Bay and you are just talking only of Manila alone. Manila Bay is composed of many provinces and municiplaities and cities. This is just the beginning. That is why we are very grateful karen. Alam naman natin na napakadumi ng tubig Manila Bay. At isa diyan, isa diyan sa violator any ang syudad ng Maynila. That is why as you can remember, I closed Manila Zoo becaus Manila Zoo was violative of some provisions of, I mean being pollutive to Manila Bay. So thre’s must be reason.
These lawmakers, I understand their fellings but you must remember, their part also of the approval of the 2020 budget last year. And it was presented to them, one way or another. Kasi may program naman yan.
Third, timely? Moreno asked Davila. Eh 2 years ago pa ito. Di naman ito sinimulan noong isang linggo, nung isang buwan o noong January. This is two years ago. So it didn;t happen overnight. It is just that your attention or some other individual were called when it was white sand. What if it is balck sand?
Davila, apparently surprised by Moreno’s on point response, could only reply that Moreno made an interesting point. Moreno, judging by his wide smile, knew that he had Karen Davila on the ropes.
Davila continued the interview by talking about a group of fisherfolk and environmentalist that have actually released a position paper that the dumpong of white sand in Manila Bay violated several laws in Manila alone. Davila told Moreno that she wants him to answer several questions:
- Did the DENR consult with the City of Manila regarding the use of dolomite for Manila Bay? Because the group says it violates the local government code of 1991 if the city was not consulted. Was the city consulted?
Moreno: Again Karen, if your question particular only to the sand, we don’t ask on what material what they are going to put. There will be sand. It was proposed to us, we were informed when I assumed my office July 1 2019, which is a year and few months ago. And the project started when President Duterte put an end to this non-performance o di tumutupad sa tungkulin sa mandamus. And we are very grateful as Manileno. I am only as mayor. I am grateful to DENR because somebody did. And sinabi sa amin i-rehabilitate. Meron STP at lalagyan talaga ng sand. What kind of sand? Di namin alam. Now then, here we are for some reason about to finish the project and its getting good attention, including foreigners. They have appreciated the program and th project. Some individuals are better than the government. They thought they are better than the government, became specialist and expert in protection of environment. Then when they said dolomite about Monday, If am not mistaken, na ito raw ay makapaminsala. O di sabi ko, nung akoy tinanong ng ABS-CBN nga, sabi ko, “I am no expert no scientist but I think the right agency to be asked is DENR. And I think DENR in his right mind na itinalaga ng batas na magproteksyon sa kapaligiran at sya ang dudumi ng kapaligiran, it doesn’t make sense.” Then I said, kung yan ay makapaminsala at mapapatunyan ng mga syantipiko, paaresto ko sila lahat.
Davila interrupted Moreno and a smiling Moreno tried to show the ANC host a piece of paper but a determined Davila managed to snuck in her clarificatory question.
Davila: Under the law, this does not need the approval of the Sangguniang Bayan ng Maynila? The reason I am asking this if it is perceived as short cuts in the City of Manila, it might be halted by court cases or a TRO, so this does not the approval of the Sanggunian?
Moreno: Karen, the mere fact it is been going on for the past two years, the last council already agreed on it.
- The issue of this environmental groups that came out with this position paper, there is no environmental compliance certificate that it is actually safe to use this dolomite material in Manila Bay and the DENR said you don’t need to use to EIA (environmental impact assessment) system but I am curious what are the rules in Manila? Do yopu ask for environmental impact assessment? Or you just went on with complete trust with DENR?
Moreno: Of course, you have to trust the government. Whom do you trust? Sino pa ang hindi natin pagkakatiwalaan kung wala itong pamahalaan na katulad nitoy nangangalaga ng kapaligiran, gumagawa ng isang proyekto after so many years and decades of filth, now it is being addressed. Their opinion is as good as mine. What matters most, ito na tayo. Let us cut the long story short Karen and let us be straightforward. Why did they, bakit sila lumabas? Sabi nila, ano raw makapaminsala? O tapos na kagabi. (Mayor Moreno waved the piece of paper from DOH declaring that dolomite used in Manila Bay does not pose health risk.) Once again, Davila tried to butt in but Moreno bulldozed his way and continued talking. Let me confront and straightforward answers. Ang dolomote makapaminsala? Ang sabi, HINDI. Sino may sabi? Hindi po ako hindi po DENR. DOH (Department of Health). So what’s the next issue? Moreno asked Karen.
The interview went on for 18 more minutes and Davila failed to pin down Moreno on the dolomite issue. You may continue watching the video below.
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