An official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources deleted photos of the condition of the artificial white sand beach along Roxas Boulevard amid the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses.
In a now-deleted Facebook post, Environment Undersecretary and spokesperson Benny Antiporda shared photos of him and Celine Pialago, spokesperson and assistant secretary of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, during their visit to Manila Bay’s white sand beach and other parts of Roxas Boulevard on Thursday.
Antiporda captioned it with: “Dolomite lang ang matatag.”
This was in reference to the dolomite rocks that make the white sand beach which reaped controversies in the past months due to the project’s hefty costs and environmental risks.
The photos were taken in response to social media criticisms that the recent typhoon’s strong winds and heavy downpour could wash the dolomite rocks out into the bay.
Several Filipinos managed to take screenshots of the post before it was deleted.
Facebook page PRISM Philippines also shared copies of the photos and criticized both officials for the perceived insensitivity of the post to typhoon victims.
“Filipinos are literally fighting for their lives yet our public officials have the audacity to post ‘dolomite lang ang matatag’? As if this post disproves their incompetence. Just shows how insensitive this government is. Hindi ba kayo nahihiya, Benny Antiporda at Asec Celine Pialago – MMDA Spokesperson?” the post read.
A Twitter user likewise expressed disgust over the post, particularly Antiporda’s caption.
“How dare you insult the thousands of Filipinos who have lost their homes, livelihoods, and worst, their loved ones? You are pure evil! You are disgusting,” the user said.
People are dying, benny. And you have the audacity to say “DOLOMITE LANG ANG MATATAG”? How dare you insult the thousands of Filipinos who have lost their homes, livelihoods, and worst, their loved ones. You are pure evil! You are disgusting. pic.twitter.com/Iqpvp2275f
— #YesToSOGIEEqualityBill (@ricci_richy) November 12, 2020
Former PTV reporter Jules Guiang also described as “insensitive.”
“People are stranded on their roofs but yes of course you have these people too. Insensitive public officials,” Guiang said.
People are stranded on their roofs but yes of course you have these people too. Insensitive public officials. pic.twitter.com/DvYM57ckOZ
— Jules Guiang 🇵🇭 (@JULESguiang) November 12, 2020
Following the deletion, Antiporda posted another remark, this time, against those who continued to press for President Rodrigo Duterte’s whereabouts. He deleted that one, too.
The hashtag #NasaanAngPangulo usually dominates social media conversations whenever the public perceives the president’s absence during tragic and important events.
Meanwhile, in her own statement on Facebook, Pialago clarified that the post was part of the typhoon response operations of the MMDA and DENR along Roxas Boulevard.
“Yung post po ni Usec Benny Antiporda ay nangyare nung sabay po kami nagiikot sa Roxas Blvd para masiguro po ang kalagayan sa ating mga kalsada. Mas expert po ang DENR na maipaliwanag ang lahat ng patungkol sa dolomite,” Pialago wrote.
“Mainam pong mapagtuunan sana ng pansin lahat ng efforts ng gobyerno sa pagtulong po sa ating mga kababayan,” she added.
Pialago also noted that they also visited Marikina City, one of the severely flooded cities in Metro Manila.
“Sa ngayon naman po ay nasa Marikina kami. Tuloy tuloy lang ang pag responde dahil maraming Pilipino ang nangangailangan ng tulong sa mga oras na ito. Maraming Salamat. #teamMMDA,” she said.