The internet is abuzz yet again over the controversial Manila Bay “Dolomite Beach.” This time, it’s because a fresh layer has just been unloaded on the shoreline. What have netizens got to say about the makeover?
A new dose
ANOTHER DOLOMITE DOSE
LOOK: Heavy vehicles dump fresh dolomite at the “Dolomite Beach” along Roxas Boulevard in Manila on Tuesday, April 13. The artificial white sand beach is part of a P389 million-peso project of the gov’t to rehabilitate Manila Bay. 📷 Grig C. Montegrande/PDI pic.twitter.com/WjyzbTfRtB
— Inquirer (@inquirerdotnet) April 13, 2021
On Apr. 13, the Philippine Daily Inquirer posted a set of photos that showed trucks dumping fresh dolomite on the infamous “Dolomite Beach.”
In case you forgot (that’s fine, we have so many important matters to worry about anyway), the dolomite sand project started in September 2020. It’s part of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Manila Bay Nourishment Project. The artificial white sand is made from crushed dolomite boulders sourced from Cebu.
But wait — there’s a new feature
Here’s one new feature of the latest update to the “dolomite beach” — a rock formation beside the US Embassy that was not part of the budget for the Manila Bay rehab.
— ABS-CBN News (@ABSCBNNews) April 14, 2021
ABS-CBN reported that a new batch of sand isn’t the only upgrade to this beach project. Rocks from Calabarzon are lined up in one corner to cover the eyesore that is a sewage system. The report also mentioned that the rock formation “was not part of the budget for the Manila Bay rehab.”
The million peso project continues
— ABS-CBN News (@ABSCBNNews) April 13, 2021
In case you also forgot, this fake white sand beach is part of a project that’s got a shiny price tag of P389 million — a shocking amount that had many wondering why it wasn’t instead allocated for something else. More doses of vaccines, perhaps? Or maybe added ayuda for the Filipinos caught in the middle of this pandemic?
While many think that it’s a waste of the government’s budget, there are also those who believe we’ll reap the benefits in the future. “You will thank this administration after this pandemic is over,” one netizen tweeted. “This rehabilitation will benefit us all and open more biz opportunities.”
There are those opposed to the project from the beginning
How it started vs how it’s going!
— Iñigo Abellar (@InigoAbellar) October 24, 2020
Senator Kiko Pangilinan last year called for a probe on the extravagant budget for the project saying it was “wasteful and unnecessary.” Even the Department of Health said that the fake sand could cause respiratory problems for some. Environmental groups likewise slammed DENR for focusing on “external beautification” and for carving out mountains all for fake sand.
Remember how the artificial beach fared after rough storms?
LOOK: Workers conduct a clean up after water hyacinths and garbage washed onto the dolomite sand shore due to the heavy downpour brought by typhoon Pepito at Manila Bay on Wednesday. (MB Photos by Jansen Romero) pic.twitter.com/ujZ2ILvdly
— Manila Bulletin News (@manilabulletin) October 21, 2020
Metro Manila was faced with an onslaught of storms a few weeks after the first layer was dumped in September. The dolomite white sand beach reverted back to its natural black sand landscape. The gloomy (and, frankly, pathetic) photos triggered netizens to say “I told you so.”
But DENR shrugged it off by saying the black sand “washed in” and covered the beautiful, pristine white sand. There was simply no way the dolomite sand washed off.
— ABS-CBN News (@ABSCBNNews) October 14, 2020
Malacanang also defended the rehabilitation
Malacañang has defended the controversial dumping of crushed dolomite in the area. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque last Sept. 7 said that Manila Bay’s “white sand” makeover will give immeasurable benefit to Filipinos’ mental health.
📷 Grig C. Montegrande/PDI pic.twitter.com/3syjT3YvFX
— Inquirer (@inquirerdotnet) April 13, 2021
The Palace backed DENR up by saying that this white sand beach project will benefit the mental health of Filipinos. The idea was that if you go there for a visit, you will see this fresh, white, clean landscape and all your worries will melt away. Maybe dig your toes in the fake sand, a nice alternative if you can’t afford to go to a real shoreline. But did it work?
Now netizens want to see the mental health benefits
After all, it’s already been half a year. That’s plenty enough time to see if the beach had an effect — good or bad — on Filipinos, right?
Many took to social media to express frustration over the new layer of fake white sand. “This could’ve been thousands of vaccines, additional beds and facilities,” said one tweet.
What’s the sense of Manila Bay’s “beautification” if no one will be able to personally see it due to the lockdown?
Stop lying to the Filipino people!
This could’ve been thousands of vaccines, additional beds and facilities.
This could’ve been thousands of Filipino lives saved. https://t.co/OdnvX8XvZT
— SEKI (@aesseki) April 13, 2021
Even actress Alessandra de Rossi had something to say about it:
So sweet. My mental health ❤️ Thank you po talaga. 🙏🏻 Mabuhay! https://t.co/986bW4zOIx
— alessandra de rossi (@msderossi) April 13, 2021
my mental health after Manila Bay’s makeover: 📉📉📉📉 https://t.co/mdbjGs5U18
— owen (@owen_senoja) April 13, 2021
LITERALLY THROWING MONEY INTO THE OCEAN FOR NOTHING + the environmental repercussions of mining the dolomite!! grr
This isn’t how you rehabilitate Manila Bay. You do that by stopping the reclamation projects destroying the ecosystems, corals, mangroves, & displacing fisherfolk! https://t.co/8A6VyChd2I
— Mitzi Jonelle Tan 🌏 (@mitzijonelle) April 13, 2021
In pandemic currency this would have been around 650,000 vials of vaccines at P600 each or 95,000 homes receiving P4k ayuda. Yan ang narating ng P389 million pesos, ilang toneladang dolomite.
— kvdtin (@kvdtin) April 13, 2021
Now we focus on our top priorities and immediate needs. And that’s keeping safe and sane in the middle of this pandemic. It doesn’t take a genius to know that a fake beach worth millions of taxpayers’ money will never lead to said taxpayer’s mental health. It also won’t lead to the rehabilitation of Manila Bay (tip: that needs solutions from real scientists).
All we can do is wash our hands, wear our masks, and stay indoors. Looks like we’re still in this for the long(er) haul.