Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya on Thursday revealed that the government is considering closing Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach for a few more weeks.
He noted that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is planning to close the controversial artificial beach to make way for the completion of its expansion.
“There’s a possibility that after Undas, they will still keep the dolomite beach closed until such a time that they are complete with the expansion,” Malaya said.
To recall, the DENR announced that the dolomite beach will be closed from 29 October to 3 November, in lieu of the order of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on the observance of Undas.
Since its soft opening over the weekend, thousands of people have flocked to the area, making other people ignore the minimum public health standards amid the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
The public’s flocking to the dolomite beach drew flak from the public, including Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, who described the scenario as a “super-spreader event.”
Domagoso also dared the IATF to file charges against the DENR for opening the dolomite beach which caused overcrowding in his city as he blamed the lack of social distancing in the area to the agency.
The Manila mayor 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.
On Wednesday, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu apologized that social distancing was disregarded during the opening of the dolomite beach.
Cimatu also relieved the assigned ground commander in the Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach for its failure to implement protocols in the area — mbco deputy executive director Jacob Meimban Jr. — from his post and vowed that it will never happen again.