Dolomite not washed out; black sand ‘washed in’ — DENR

Marje Pelayo   •   October 15, 2020   •   1167

MANILA, Philippines — Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu conducted a surprise inspection of the Manila Bay Beach Nourishment site on Wednesday (October 14).

Accompanied by Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta, Cimatu visited the site following reports that the artificial white sand in the area has been washed away after days of continuous rain.

Peralta himself requested for the visit as part of their mandate of ensuring that the said government project is properly progressing.

The DENR Chief stressed there was no washing off of the dolomite white sand in Manila Bay, contrary to reports circulating on social media.

The agency explained that the natural blank sand deposit in the area covered the white sand by one to three feet thick resulting in the sand turning black.

“Nakita po na puro kasinungalingan iyong lumabas na na-wash out po ang white sand natin (Reports that the white sand has been washed out are all lies),” DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said.

“Ang nangyari talaga is wash in. Ang nangyari po is pumasok iyong itim na buhangin at pumatong sa white dolomite (What really happened was a “wash in”. The black sand washed ashore and covered the white dolomite),” he added.

In September, President Rodrigo Duterte himself lauded the efforts of Cimatu in the full rehabilitation of Manila Bay. 

He expressed high confidence in Cimatu despite criticisms on the use of crushed dolomite boulders to cover the coastline of Manila Bay. MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

Mayor Isko urges IATF to file raps over dolomite beach overcrowding

Robie de Guzman   •   October 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso on Tuesday called on the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 pandemic to file complaints against officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) over last weekend’s overcrowding at dolomite beach in Manila Bay.

In a television interview, Domagoso said an agency under the DENR opened the dolomite beach to the public without coordinating with the local government.

Mayor Isko was referring to the Manila Bay Coordinating Office (MBCO), an agency under the direct supervision of the DENR secretary, which has coordinative functions among all offices and agencies involved in the rehabilitation, restoration and conservation of Manila Bay.

“I am calling on IATF. Charge those people in DENR of violating… show our rules. If we cannot implement it within their offices, then there is no point implementing them sa taumbayan,” he said.

Domagoso, a presidential aspirant in the 2022 elections, also stressed that it is the DENR that has control over the area amid rehabilitation and development efforts.

“In fact, may gate nga sila para makapasok ka sa dolomite. But due diligence must be observed especially in this situation wherein it can be a super spreader,” he said.

The opening of the Manila Baywalk dolomite beach on Oct. 17 attracted thousands of people during the last two weekends. Videos and photos circulating on social media showed that social distancing and other COVID-19 health protocols were violated.

The DENR later on banned children below 12 years old from entering the dolomite beach, saying it was “overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and interest of the public”.

At a Palace briefing, DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda admitted the shortcoming on the part of the agency but assured that this was addressed immediately.

“Sinasabi nila na nagkaroon ng violation ng social distancing, immediately na-address po yan,” he said. “Nagkulang ng kaunti pero naagapan.”

The Philippine National Police earlier said it will deploy more personnel to the area to help control the crowd.

Mga bata, bawal mamasyal sa dolomite Beach sa Maynila – Malakanyang

Robie de Guzman   •   October 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Muling nagpa-alala ang Malakanyang sa publiko na hindi pa maaaring magtungo sa mga pasyalan ang mga menor de edad sa kabila ng pagluluwag ng COVID-19 alert level sa Metro Manila.

Ginawa ng Palasyo ang paalala kasunod ng muling pagdagsa ng maraming tao sa dolomite beach sa Maynila nitong weekend.

Batay sa video na kuha ng UNTV drone, makikita ang kumpulan ng maraming tao sa Manila Bay pati na ang ilang pamilyang may kasama pang mga bata.

Sa dami ng taong dumagsa sa lugar, hindi na nasunod ang social distancing rule at may iba pang hindi maayos ang pagkakasuot ng face mask.

Ayon kay Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, bawal pang pumasok ang mga bata sa dolomite beach sa Manila Bay at iba pang pasyalan.

Una nang sinabi ni Roque na maaari lamang lumabas ang mga bata kung ito ay para sa pangunahing pangangailangan at outdoor exercise.

“Hindi pa po pwede talagang magpasyal-pasyal ang mga bata. So, unang-una nananawagan po kami sa ating mga kababayan, pandemya pa po,” ani Roque.

“Bagama’t bumababa po ang mga kaso natin eh nandiyan pa po si COVID-19. So, huwag po tayong magpabaya… Kinakailangan po mask, hugas, iwas at kung kakayanin na bakuna na,” dagdag pa niya.

Kasalukuyang nasa COVID-19 Alert Level 3 ang Metro Manila, na ang ibig sabihin ay mas maluwag na restriction at pagpapahintulot sa pagbubukas ng mas maraming establisimyento sa limitadong kapasidad.

Ngunit paalala ng Palasyo sa publiko, dapat pa ring mag-ingat at iwasan ang pagkukumpulan dahil sa patuloy na banta ng COVID-19 sa kabila ng mataas na vaccination rate sa rehiyon.

Dapat ring panatilihin ang pagsunod sa health protocols upang maiwasan ang super spreader events.

“Nananawagan din po kami sa kapulisan, siguro diyan po sa Maynila, kinakailangan po ipatupad natin yung social distancing,” ani Roque.

Samantala, muli ring umapela ang Department of Health (DOH) sa publiko na huwag balewalain ang ipinaiiral na health protocols upang huwag nang tumaas pa ang kaso ng COVID-19 sa bansa.

“Katulad po ng lagi nating sinasabi hindi pa po tapos ang laban, andito pa po ang virus. Kailangan po tulong-tulong tayo huwag po tayong maging kampante maaaring lumabas pa ring pero kailangan mag- iingat pa rin tayo lahat,” ang paalala ni DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

Samantala, sinabi naman ni Environment and Natural Undersecretary Benny Antiporda na posibleng limitahan na nila ang dami ang mga papapasuking bisita sa dolomite beach sa Manila Bay upang maiwasan ang pagdagsa ng mga tao.

“They can spend about 15 minutes and since hindi po—hindi na po 15 minutes, pinababayaan na po kahit magtagal sa loob, eh titingnan po natin at kahit tuloy-tuloy pa ho, tuloy-tuloy pa yung dating ng tao, maaari hong ibalik namin yung time limit ng pagbisita,” ang wika ni Antiporda. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

PNP to deploy more cops at Manila dolomite beach

Robie de Guzman   •   October 25, 2021

 

The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday said it will deploy more personnel at the dolomite beach in Manila after thousands of people flocked to the area over the weekend.

PNP chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar said he has tasked the Manila Police District (MPD) to closely coordinate with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), dolomite beach administrators, and the local government unit on the possibility of establishing restrictions on the number of visitors and their length of stay.

He also directed the MPD to make sure that no super spreader event will occur in the area.

“Inatasan ko na ang Director, MPD na magdagdag ng pulis sa dolomite area ng Manila Bay upang tiyakin na nasusunod ang minimum public health safety protocols. Kasama sa aking utos ang pakikipag-ugnayan sa lokal na pamahalaan upang magkaroon ng maayos na sistema, lalo na sa pagdadala ng mga bata na nakita natin sa video at sa mga litrato na kumalat sa social media,” Eleazar said in a statement.

“Nauunawaan natin ang kasabikan ng ilan nating mga kababayan na lumabas dahil sa mahabang lockdown subalit hindi dahilan ito upang ipagsawalang-bahala ang kaligtasan ng bawat isa, lalo na ang mga batang isinama nila gayong malinaw sa patakaran na hindi pa puwede silang lumabas under the COVID Alert Level 3 status,” he added.

Last Sunday, the PNP said authorities temporarily stopped the entry of visitors when the crowd reached 4,000.

Video taken via UNTV drone also showed clusters of people visiting the dolomite beach, with some even violating the protocol on social distancing and wearing of face masks.

Eleazar reminded the public to strictly adhere to the health protocols against COVID-19 when visiting public areas to prevent the further spread of the disease.

The DENR earlier said it is eyeing the possibility of limiting to only 15 minutes the length of stay and the number of visitors to the area.

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