President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday defended the Manila Bay Sands project that covered a portion of the baywalk with crushed dolomite to make it look like a white sand beach.
Duterte pushed back at critics, including Vice President Leni Robredo, who are questioning the P349 million project.
"People now are really enjoying the reclaimed area with white sand maski na papaano. Wala naman talaga tayong magawa. You do it, may masabi sila. You do not do it, may masabi si Leni," the President said.
Robredo earlier questioned the timing of project.
While it was programmed in 2019, the Vice President said it was "insensitive" to push through with the beautification at the height of the pandemic and when the government could barely give another tranche of financial aid to affected Filipinos.
The Vice President also noted physical distancing was not observed when the dolomite-covered part of the baywalk was opened to the public Sunday.
The observations of Robredo and other critics of the project did not sit well with the President.
"What do you want us to do? Ang problema kasi ‘yung magsabi that we are not doing enough. What can we do with the germ that’s flying around? It’s the microbe that can’t be controlled," he said.
"People now enjoying benefits of determined action of a Cabinet member...Yung mga dilawan maski anong sabihin mo -- gawin mo, masama ka. Hindi mo gawin, masama ka pa rin. E put***na mo anong gustong mo?" Duterte said.
The President even congratulated Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu for the project, saying: “Napabilib nya ako (He made me a believer) when he accepted my dare.”
“People are now enjoying the benefits of the determined action of the Cabinet member to do good,” he added.
Duterte warned that the opposition “is trying to picture that there is a failure in the government.”
“The dynamics is that we are in still waters, with the engine conked out. Unless the vaccine is there, as long as human beings continue to relate to each other, wala tayong magawa. Hindi natin makulong ang Pilipino,” he said.
Meanwhile, on extending the country’s state of calamity to another year or until September 2021, the President said this will give time for the national and local governments to have enough resources in fighting the pandemic.
“We also requested the Armed Forces and police to extend the necessary assistance to fulfill this mandate,” he said.
On the vaccine for the coronavirus, Duterte repeated his promise to lend funds to purchase it, which he said should be available by January.
“We will follow the program laid down by the IATF. Yun munang mga mahihirap (ang kukuha ng vaccine),” the President said.
“Pagka-lulusot ito, by January we will be better off. Ang problema lang, yung clinical trials sa Moderna. Yung mga tao nag-exhibit ng side effects,” he said.
“The only thing we can do really is wear your mask, that's it and wait for the vaccine. COVID-19 is equal to a vaccine. Wag na ninyong palakahin ang problema,” Duterte added.