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Bay swimming banned

Swimming in Manila Bay will be strictly prohibited starting today, Easter Sunday, according to police.

Traditionally, hordes of people flock to the breakwater in Manila Bay on Easter Sunday to swim, hold picnics and have a good time free of charge.

While those who can afford to go to resorts, beaches and places with swimming pools troop outside the metropolis for fun, poor families while away the summer heat and celebrate Easter Sunday at Manila Bay.

Thousands of people gather and swim the entire day at the bay area.

Police said they have no choice but to implement the ban.

"We may be branded as killjoys. But we cannot sacrifice the safety and health of the people by allowing them to swim in the polluted waters of Manila Bay," Western Police District-Ermita police station chief Senior Superintendent Elmer Jamias said.

Jamias said it is common knowledge that accidents do happen at this time of the year at Manila Bay among swimmers due to absence of safety swimming devices and lifeguards in the area.

Besides, rubbish thrown by Manila Bay visitors contribute to the pollution of the water, he said.

Jamias started apprehending swimmers near the Baywalk along Roxas Boulevard yesterday and lectured them on the hazards of swimming in the Manila Bay.

But the public saw the latest police directive as a violation of their right to enjoy nature.

"Bakit kami pagbabawalan. Wala namang batas na nagbabawal maligo ng libre dito sa dagat. Hindi naman ito pag-aari ng gobyerno o
private person (Why should we be forbiden to swim when there is no law against the free use of the sea. The sea is not owned by the government or any private person)," one breakwater regular commented.

The Philippine Coast Guard will also patrol the Manila Bay and drive away swimmers.

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