^

Nation

Dolomite beach overcrowding won’t happen again – DENR

Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star
Dolomite beach overcrowding wonât happen again â DENR
A woman takes a photo of the Manila Bay dolomite beach along Roxas Boulevard on Tuesday. The artificial white sand beach is closed to the public until Nov. 3 in observance of Undas.
Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is “recalibrating” its crowd management measures at the Manila Bay dolomite beach following an overcrowding incident recently, DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu said yesterday.

“The public’s health is still of paramount concern for us. This is the reason why we are studying the guidelines to make sure that the people can still appreciate the beauty of the dolomite beach while keeping them free from sickness,” Cimatu said in a statement.

He said the incident on Oct. 24 when authorities failed to control the entry of more than 121,000 visitors to the dolomite beach “would not happen again in the future.”

“I would like to put on record that the Manila Bay Task Force (MBTF) is looking into the incident to assure the people that this will not happen again,” he said.

Cimatu had relieved MBTF ground commander Jacob Meimban Jr. from his post following overcrowding on the man-made beach.

Meimban admitted that there may have been lapses in the enforcement of health and safety protocols, particularly on the number of people allowed inside the beach.

The DENR drew flak for opening the dolomite beach to the public amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno had earlier said officials of the DENR should be charged for allowing thousands of visitors to overcrowd the dolomite beach, adding that the agency did not coordinate with the city government on the opening of the tourist attraction.

The dolomite beach is closed to the public until Nov. 3 in observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

Cimatu said the DENR is studying the possibility of extending the closure period until the completion of the second phase of the Manila Bay beach nourishment project.

“Measures of either closing the beach on weekends or until the second phase of the rehabilitation is completed will be examined and will be based on the decision of the MBTF and the Alert Level status in Metro Manila,” the DENR said.

Retired Philippine Army general Reuel Sorilla, who replaced Meimban as MBTF commander, has ordered the deployment of additional personnel to the dolomite beach “for stricter patrols and monitoring in the area.”

“My initial plan is to ensure the safety of all stakeholders and identify ways on how to improve the crowd control system in place,” Sorilla, who is also the officer-in-charge of the DENR Environmental Law Enforcement and Protection Service, said.

DENR Undersecretary for policy, planning and international affairs Jonas Leones said aside from prohibiting the entry to the dolomite beach of children aged 11 and below, the MBTF would also set up a special lane for persons with disabilities, pregnant women and senior citizens.

“We are aware that if this overcrowding situation continues and the minimum health standards are ignored, this may bring us to a scenario of a possible super spreader event,” Leones said.

He said the DENR is also considering the “cinema approach” for those who want to visit the dolomite beach.

“Through this approach, visitors will be limited to the capacity of the dolomite beach area and will only have up to two hours to stay and enjoy the scenery,” Leones explained.

Visitors may be issued stubs just like in movie houses, he said.

DENR MANILA BAY
Philstar
  • 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