President Duterte is elated about the artificial white sand beach at Manila Bay, saying the Filipino people are now enjoying the benefits from a determined action of government.
Duterte made the statement following the reopening of the rehabilitated Manila Bay and despite the complete disregard of minimum health protocols among its visitors.
In his public address Monday evening, Duterte congratulated Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu for keeping his word that he will clean Manila Bay.
“I remember that meeting and I think everybody was there when I said, ‘Roy, kaya mong linisin ‘to (can you clean this up)?’ And his answer was a very curtly — very curtly given, he said, ‘Kaya kong trabahuhin (I can do it),’” the President recalled.
Duterte said he was impressed by the present appearance of a portion of the Manila Bay especially since people are enjoying it.
“Napabilib niya ako (I was impressed by him),” the President said of Cimatu.
“People are now enjoying the benefits of the determined action of a Cabinet member to do good,” he added.
The President, however, acknowledged that this project will not sit well with everybody, particularly with Vice President Leni Robredo.
“Wala naman talaga tayong magawa. You do it, may masabi sila. You do not do it, may masabi si Leni (We really cannot do anything. You do it, they have something to say. You don’t do it, Leni has something to say, too),” he said.
The opening of what is now referred to online as the “Manila Bay Sands” over the weekend met criticisms online as law enforcers failed to implement physical distancing measures when its visitors, mostly supporters of the President, flocked to the event.
Despite this, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said that people crowding that particular area along Roxas Boulevard proved that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the local government of the City of Manila made the right decision.
Roque, however, appealed to the Manila Police to make sure that visitors of the newly rehabilitated Manila Bay would observe basic health protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Manila Police District (MPD) has sacked Ermita police chief Lt. Col. Ariel Caramoan over the incident. The MPD said it will investigate whether Caramoan had “lapses in judgement” in securing the opening of Manila Bay’s artificial white sand beach.