DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu, in a budget hearing in the House of Representatives today, Sep. 08., said that the dumping of dolomites rocks in Baywalk area is made in compliance with the Writ of [Continuing] Mandamus issued by the Supreme Court in its 2011 decision which compels government agencies to rehabilitate the Manila Bay.
Sec. Cimatu also defended the use of dolomites rock stating that the mineral in its natural state is not a health hazard but what is hazardous is the fine silica present in dolomites when it is in the form of dust generated during mining.
The Secretary clarified that the dolomites bought by the DENR are heavier and bigger than dust, thus, not suspended in air that can be inhaled and pose health risk. He added that dolomite sand was previously used in Mactan and Sheraton resorts in Cebu with no reported health risks from the public. It also has beneficial effects in nourishing the beach due to its alkaline property.
Yesterday, DOH Undersecretary Vergeire warned of possible health risks of inhaling and ingesting dolomites.
“Once dolomite becomes dust or it aerosolizes, it can cause respiratory issues or effects to a person,” Vergeire said.
She added that eye irritation and gatro-intestinal discomfort such as stomach pain and diarrhea can result from ingestion of dolomite.
As to the source of the project’s fund, Sec. Cimatu noted that the budget comes from a 2019 special fund released by the DBM for the rehabilitation of the Manila Bay.
Meanwhile, DENR Usec. Jonas Leones clarified that the cost of dolomite is Php 28-million including transportation, taxes and other fees while the reported Php 389-million covers the entire budget of rehabilitation of Manila Bay.
When asked to comment about the plans of some groups to file a petition for Writ of Kalikasan against the project, DENR Usec. Leones said “Karapatan nilang mag-file, pero sa aming panig po ay handa kaming magpaliwanag sa korte.”
Secretary Cimatu announced that the new Baywalk with “dolomite” white sand will be opened in September 19 during the International Coastal Clean Up Day.