Sun. Nov 29th, 2020
Kibitzers are taking shots of the controversial P389 million project at the Manila Bay Walk beach as natural black and gray sand goes over the yellow dolomites DENR installed there two months ago, for fear that they will no longer be there soon as the cool Amihan northeasterly winds go south, inviting typhoons and monsoon rains yearly from November to February. (Photo by Daily Tribune)
First of Two Parts

Still insistent on defying science and Mother nature, a massive concrete breakwater is now being considered to save the stupid dolomite white beach.

Make a mistake once, that’s an error. Do it twice, and that’s impunity. Both ways it is plain and simple corruption.

And when you are using public funds exceeding P50 million, under Republic Act 7080, that’s becomes plunder.

Since no environment official has yet been fired for his flimsy project beautifying the beach at the Manila Bay Walk, we have to revisit this nagging scam.

First cosmetics are outside the Supreme Court mandamus and the mandate of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. It is a project that is more apropro for the Department of Tourism or the local government of Manila.

The Supreme Court’s 12-year-old Supreme Court mandamus ordered the DENR and 12 government agencies to clean up, rehabilitate and preserve Manila Bay and maintain its waters to Class SB level. Class SB, under DENR Administrative Order 34 of 1990, refers to areas regularly used for public bathing, swimming and skin diving.

Nowhere in that mandamus prescribed lipsticks for any DENR official, whose stubbornness now courts vetting who he really is.

Our government has not only been infiltrated by communists but dilettanti and sycophants. For the sake of the people they have taken an oath of office to serve, they must be unmasked.

Here is Tita Valderama’s sobering article appearing in the Manila Times, word for word:

“Some people in government have become experts in squandering public funds even as the coronavirus pandemic continues to make life miserable for more Filipinos.

“Whoever broached the plan to construct a breakwater to protect the crushed dolomite on a portion of Manila Bay may have thought that the government has a lot of money to burn for a completely unnecessary project such as preserving that pocket of artificial white sand from being washed away by strong waves.

“And whoever approved that crazy idea must have the public good at the rock bottom of his priorities in government service, or simply trying to save face.

“Undersecretary Joan Leones of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) recently disclosed to the press that they have been informed about the plan of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to build a breakwater, in addition to geo-tubes or huge, durable plastic filled with sand already in place along the perimeter of the shore to ensure that the crushed dolomite will remain intact despite the current.

“With that plan, it is clear that the DPWH and DENR have refused to heed the criticisms that the P389-million “beach nourishment” project is a waste of scarce public funds.

“According to DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda, the complete rehabilitation project for Manila Bay, which may take seven years to finish, was given a total budget of P47 billion by the Duterte administration.

“For 2020, P1.3 billion was allotted for the implementation of the Manila Bay Coastal Management Strategy.

“If that’s the case, then the cost of the dumping of artificial white sand on a portion of Manila Bay adjacent to the US Embassy compound on Roxas Boulevard is a relatively small amount.

“The proponent of the breakwater project to protect the disappearing white sand must be eyeing to get a chunk of the whopping rehabilitation fund for it.

“Before the recent strong typhoons and heavy rains came, it was reported that 120 meters — out of 500 meters — of Manila Bay’s shoreline had been covered by the crushed dolomite from Cebu. Based on recent photos posted on news websites and social media, it would appear that roughly half of the sand has been washed away, or washed in, to use DENR officials’ term, noting that mud and black sand had merely covered the dolomites.

“Given the situation of the “white sand” now, as strong typhoons hit the country, including Metro Manila, the government should already put this project in the back burner.

“It has proven Palace spokesman Harry Roque and Antiporda wrong that the project would help enhance mental health. Well, perhaps it did briefly to some of those who took time to go there and get a “Boracay” feel in the heart of Metro Manila. But is it worth the money?

“If the government will keep restoring the “white sand” beach each time a typhoon or high tide pulls away the dolomites and covers the shoreline with black sand and wastes, when can it stop spending precious money for such an unnecessary cosmetic project?

“Environment and fisherfolk groups have pointed out that constructing a breakwater may be able to hold some of the dolomite on the shoreline but this does not guarantee that it will effectively impede water flow and prevent the crushed dolomite rocks from being washed out.

“Fernando Hicap, national chairman of the group Pamalakaya, sounds correct when he said that dumping dolomites to create the “white sand” ambiance on Roxas Blvd. was veering away from the DENR’s mandate to restore marine ecosystem, but aims to beautify the area.

“Indeed, having that portion of the Manila Bay shoreline covered with white sand is pleasing to the eye. It may not be comparable to Waikiki Beach’s Kalakaua Avenue, but it would look really nice.

“However, given the government’s financial position and the country’s economic situation when millions of people have lost their jobs and more are pushed to extreme poverty during the coronavirus pandemic, it would be wiser to put this project aside and channel available resources to addressing more pressing concerns such as food security.

“Public officials behind this “white beach” project should just ditch it instead of spending more money just to save face. That way, government can minimize the losses.” (End of Valderama’s opinion piece.)

A DENR undersecretary is definitely feeling he is one-man “whole nation approach” when definitely he has become a living embarrassment to Senator Bong Go who sponsored his appointment. I am not sure the President knows him but Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea signed his appointment.

Duterte recently announced he will name names of corrupt and inept public officials, I will wait until he names this one, after all this idiot arrogantly said only he can ask him to step down. He even has the gall to put the president on the spot.

The Geographic Society of the University of the Philippines, among others that have appealed for the official’s resignation, “considering his ‘ill-fitting background’ for the job and for disregarding the opinions of other Filipino scientists.”

In a recent show of Arnold Clavio (DZBB), many wanted to know who this character really is.

There said there were allegations that he was a high-school dropout…

…that he was a former waiter at a cabaret in Bocaue, Bulacan (there is nothing wrong with that) and that he once served as a bugaw (pimp) in Pasay City (there is definitely something wrong with this one).

But not to be judgmental at this point, another one said he managed to reinvent himself as a photographer of a tabloid newspaper, eventually owning himself one by hoodwinking a congressman who helped him set it up.

After which, he used the tabloid as a ladder upstairville to run for president of an old organization of media men. Some say he paid his way to get that position para magmukhang may utak (to appear to be brainy), but that is really a conclusion that urgently need premises.

In fairness, the same goes to the rumor that he also paid a diploma mill to grant him a college degree. The reason is because that same university awarded him as recent as last year as a “proud alum” of its online learning and distance education.

It appears however that the media presidency gave him so much leverage that he further expanded pimping Class A female models for politicians frequenting the Century Park Hotel. 

It was allegedly there that he met a Pasay City councilor who introduced him to a high official of the Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group (PASG)…that enabled him  to moonlight as a high-end fixer at the Bureau of Customs, curing the woes of smugglers caught by the Philippine National Police, the National Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Immigration and the BOC itself, lobbying for suspects from China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

It is finally alleged that as his influence peddling and pimping business grew, the PASG took him in. My sources said, that was how he was able to link up with the smugglers at the Sasa Port in Davao City.

What was the PASG?

The PASG was established by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo through EO 264 in 2007, but was ordered abolished by a Manila Regional Trial Court on March 2010 for being unconstitutional.

The decision stemmed from the petition filed by British national Siu Ting Alpha Kwok who was earlier arrested for allegedly smuggling jewelry and precious gems worth millions. A temporary restraining order was also issued against the Office of the Executive Secretary and PASG chief Antonio Villar Jr.

On August 18, 2009, PASG agents raided Kwok’s residence on the 17th floor of Pacific Place in Ortigas, Pasig City and arrested her for allegedly selling precious gems illegally.

But the PASG officers never filed any criminal or administrative case against Kwok before any court, tribunal, or quasi-judicial body in the Philippines, her lawyer, Bonifacio Alentajan, said.

The PASG illegally arrested Kwok “without the benefit of any warrant to support the arrest, and on a mere suspicion of violating the Tariff and Customs Code. Clearly, she was not committing any offense at the time of her illegal arrest,” he added.

Well, worst practices in the Philippines really depends on how you manage to disguise your corruption agenda. The law enforcers did not waste anytime raiding Ms. Kwok’s home, arresting her but NOT filing any charges against her, a brazen but simple way of motivating suspects to just come across.

But my friend Boni came to the rescue of a damsel-in-distress, and spoiled the evil plot. The question now is will Atty. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan show the same legal savvy to prove Tita Valderama right?

The opposition Senator filed Resolution no. 565 before this weekend seeking an investigation into probable violations of the Local Government Code, Philippine Fisheries Code, Wildlife Conservation Act, and Presidential Decree No. 1586 or Environmental Impact Assessment System, in connection with P389 million Manila Bay dolomite project of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources

“What a waste of money, it was like they let (taxpayers money) be washed away in the sea,” Pangilinan said.

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