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By Prince Golez

Malacañang on Thursday disagreed with the statement of Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda calling experts from the University of the Philippines (UP) “bayaran” or paid hacks for criticizing the Manila Bay “white sand” project.

The UP Marine Science Institute had said it was willing to help the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in a “science-based rehabilitation program for Manila Bay,” also suggesting that mangroves should be planted instead.

“UP has a new charter. It is really a partner of government and that is why I had to distance… in fact, I will go to the extent of I disagree with the statement of Usec. Antiporda, but he has already apologized for it,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque told reporters.

“Nasa batas po yan na talagang partner natin ang UP bilang isang national university,” he also said.

Antiporda has since apologized to UP for his remarks, saying he was carried away by his emotions.

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