Writ of Kalikasan could force environmental impact study of Manila Bay dolomite beach – BusinessWorld Online

NON-GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATION Advocates of Science and Technology for the People (Agham) said it may apply for the issuance of a writ of kalikasan against the government’s Manila Bay dolomite beach, with a view towards triggering an environmental impact assessment (EIA).
“(The issuance of the) writ of kalikasan… activates discovery measures. It will hopefully get the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) to conduct an EIA (and) produce all of the documents related to the project,” Tara Alessandra S. Abrina, an Agham member, said in a briefing Wednesday.
A writ of kalikasan may be issued by the courts to an individual or group on the basis of the constitutional right to a balanced and healthy ecology, in the event such rights are violated or threatened. Parties holding this legal remedy may file a motion for the inspection of documents or an inspection of the area.
The beach project has yet to undergo an EIA, with a scientist from the UP Marine Science Institute (UP MSI) confirming that the DENR has not made any attempts to contact the institute to conduct such an assessment.
Marine science professor Maria Lourdes San Diego-McGlone said that UP MSI Director Laura T. David made no mention in a recent meeting of any attempts by the Environment to seek the expertise of the institute in conducting any assessment of the project.
Last year, the DENR said the dolomite beach did not need to undergo an environmental impact study since it is a rehabilitation, not construction project.
Agham’s Ms. Abrina said the presence of dolomite sand in the bay will likely increase the suspended solids in the water, affecting the feeding and survival of fish and other marine organisms.
Citing its recent policy paper, Agham said that the dolomite overlay has shifted the priority and resources to tourism, rather than the Supreme Court-ordered restoration of the bay’s water to “recreational water class 1” or “Class SB” levels.
“While marine science and biology experts from public institutions and the academe have expressed their concern for the dolomite project, the Duterte government remains firm in defending and even requested an additional budget for the project,” it said in a statement Wednesday.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte named the dolomite beach a priority project in his State of the Nation Address, with an additional P265 million of funds allotted for its second phase. — Angelica Y. Yang


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