DENR moves to lessen crowds at Manila Bay’s dolomite beach

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A week after the soft-opening of the controversial Manila Baywalk dolomite beach along Roxas Boulevard, Manila, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) announced measures to effectively reduce the number of visitors in the area.

In an online news conference on Tuesday, DENR Undersecretary for Environment and International Affairs Jonas R. Leones admitted that the agency was overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and interest of the public to visit the recently opened beach as shown by the big number of people in the beach area since it opened on October 16.

Director Jacob Meimban Jr. of the DENR’s Manila Bay Coordinating Office (MBCO) there were admitted that more than 120,000 people trooped to the area on October 25 alone.

Netizens were quick to criticize the DENR for what some described as a “publicity stunt” to promote the controversial project amid the threats of Covid-19. No less than President Duterte called the attention of the DENR.

Leones said in support of the efforts of the national government and the directives of the Covid-19 Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), children 11 years and below will not be allowed entry in the beach area starting October 26, 2021.  The beach will also be closed every Friday.

Moreover, the Manila Baywalk dolomite beach shall be closed from October 29, 2021 until November 3, 2021 in observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

To further reduce the number of visitors and avoid overcrowding at any given time, a “cinema approach” will also be implemented by the DENR—which means that visitors will be given very limited time inside the beach area.

Leones said there will times that the dolomite beach will be closed to give way to ongoing development in the area, noting that the area covered with the crushed dolomite is just part and parcel of the bigger P389-million Beach Nourishment Project being implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways and the DENR.

Leones said the new measures that will take effect immediately would limit the number of people and prevent the much-feared transmission of the dreaded coronavirus.

“We are all aware of that we are still in the pandemic situation.  When we opened the Manila Bay dolomite beach, we did not expect that it would be warmly accepted by throngs of Filipinos from all walks of life who descended on the dolomite beach in the West of Metro Manila, breathing fresh air, walking on the sand and most of all, witnessing the famous Manila Bay sunset,” he said.

Image courtesy of Roy Domingo

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