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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Isko asks to barricade Bay Sands

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Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso on Monday asked the Environment department to barricade the Manila Bay Sands area in the city after people crowded it at the weekend and ignored social distancing.

Isko asks to barricade Bay Sands
OFF LIMITS. Police turn away bystanders and curious onlookers from the Manila Bay Sands project on Monday, even as people continue to visit the area to see the dolomite-padded ‘white sand’ along the shore. CNN Philippines and PNA photos

Domagoso also discouraged the public from visiting the area due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This developed as the Department of Health expressed alarm Monday due to the mass gathering and overcrowding of people along Manila Bay over the weekend to check out the dolomite white sand amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire flagged the activity, which showed people under 21 years old and senior citizens who are prohibited from going outside due to vulnerabilities to COVID-19, flocking the area without observance of social distancing.

“This situation is worrisome. The virus isn’t gone yet,” Vergeire said in an online briefing.

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The beach was opened to the public over the weekend to mark the International Coastal Cleanup Day.

The event was led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Vergeire said the Department of Health contacted the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Philippine National Police to increase deployment of policemen in the area to ensure that minimum health standards are being followed.

“Pakiusap ko lang sa mamamayan, gustuhin man nating makita ‘yung Manila Bay white sands, e siguro may iba pa namang panahon,” Domagoso said.

The beach will remain closed for the week while the bay’s rehabilitation is resumed.

“I already asked the DENR to close ‘yung bakod dahil hard-hat pa, may construction pang nagaganap,” Domagoso said.

He said it was enough that the public had a preview of the Manila Bay Sands through the media.

“Ipagpaliban po muna natin ang pagpunta,” he said. “Alam ko po marami sa inyo nasisiyahan, nagagalak sapagkat ito ay kakaibang pangyayari. ‘Yung imposible naging posible."

“Ngunit, naalala ko pa rin na meron pang pandemya. Meron pa akong pangamba, panganib sa lungsod ng Maynila.”

On Saturday, many people who showed up for the opening of the Manila Bay Sands failed to observe physical distancing and many were seen not wearing face shields.

Ermita Police station commander Ariel Caramoan was relieved following the police's failure to maintain social distancing. Authorities also temporarily banned picture-taking at the Manila Bay Sands.

Vergeire added: “Kailangan pa rin i-implement ang minimum health standards. Kailangan mapaalalahanan ang ating mga kababayan na delikado itong sitwasyon, puwedeng magkaroon ng pagkakahawa-hawa kapag hindi ipinatupad ang minimum health standards,” Vergeire said.

The rehabilitation of the Manila Bay shoreline is a part of the DENR’s P389 million beach nourishment project.

DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said putting white sand along Manila Bay will discourage people from throwing trash in the water.

Isko asks to barricade Bay Sands

However, the cleanup of Manila Bay is far from done since its coliform level remains not suitable for swimming and trash are still collected in parts of the bay on a regular basis.

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