^

Nation

Authorities limit access as thousands flock to Manila's dolomite beach

Philstar.com
Authorities limit access as thousands flock to Manila's dolomite beach
Crowds gather as families spend quality time while waiting for the famous Manila Bay sunset at the Manila Dolomite Beach during its 2nd day opening on Sunday (October 17, 2021).
Miguel De Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — Thousands trooped to the Manila Bay dolomite beach on Sunday, prompting the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to order the area's temporary closure. 

Speaking in an interview aired over dzMM TeleRadyo, Jacob Meimban Jr, deputy executive director of the department's Manila Bay Coordinating Office, said that he directed the office's ground commander to temporarily stop the entry of people after the number of visitors reached up to 4,000.

"During last weekend when the beach re-opened, we gave them access to some 140 meters or 8,000 square meters of the Dolomite Beach area. If we see that a much larger number of people are going in, we are ready to open up to some 300 meters or 12,000 square meters – that is 1.2 hectares," he said earlier.

"The following day, which is a Sunday, that number tripled since we monitored some 25,000 visitors that day. And consecutive days after that, we recorded more or less 20,000 sightseers per day."

READ: More of Manila Bay beach open to public

  Metro Manila has few parks and public spaces. Shopping malls, where many go for leisure, have reopened subject to restrictions.

More people expected at sunset 

Asked about holding people in queues outside the gates, Meimban said: "We've done that already, it only made congestion outside worse, which we think is more dangerous because it causes overcrowding."

"People can walk along the stretch of Remedios to Abad in the Baywalk Area...They can return in an hour to replace visitors that have just left the area," he said in Filipino. 

Meimban said there would be a surge of visitors starting at around 5 p.m. “That is the crucial time because we learned that many want to see the sunset in the bay area,” he added.

As the national government's coronavirus task force opts to relax restrictions and open more public areas, local government and police officials urge the people to be more "disciplined" when going out. 

Police Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, PNP chief, reminded the public to be "more responsible," pointing to the visitors of the dolomite beach. 

“We have repeatedly reminded the public to strictly adhere to minimum health standards especially when in public places or attractions such as Dolomite Beach. I understand the desire of our countrymen to get out of their homes, but if we are not careful, the COVID-19 case is likely to rise again and the government will be forced to tighten protocols again," Eleazar said.

"I have instructed our unit commanders to ensure that we have a sufficient number of police in public places to ensure compliance with the minimum public health safety."

Earlier, the DENR recorded at least 25,000 visitors in the Manila Bay during the first week it reopened following Metro Manila's shift to the lighter Alert Level 3.

To date, health authorities have recorded 2.75 million coronavirus infections in the country, 63,051 of which are still classified as active cases. 

The Department of Health earlier this week said that coronavirus cases are expected to stabilize back to pre-Delta numbers, indicating a possible shift to Alert Level 2 in the coming weeks. — with a report from The STAR/Rhodina Villanueva

vuukle comment

COVID-19 PANDEMIC

MANILA BAY

Philstar
x
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with