According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the rehabilitation program of Manila Bay will take precedence over leisure, and require the artificial dolomite beach located at the Baywalk, to remain closed until next year.
The beach was originally scheduled to be shut down from October 29 to November 3, but DENR Undersecretary for policy, planning, and international affairs Jonas Leones said that the extension comes as a mandate from DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu.
By completing the rehabilitation efforts first, Leones explained, the public would be able to “fully enjoy the beach” upon its reopening.
Since its inception last year, the anthropogenic dolomite beach has drawn much criticism from environmentalists as well as the general public, due to the project’s enormous cost amidst the Covid19 pandemic.
A total of P28 million was spent on the initial overlay of white dolomite sand, and after the onslaught of several typhoons last year reportedly washing it away, an additional layer was added as a replacement.
The total expenditures, many argue, should have instead gone to the nation’s Covid19 pandemic response and aid to those most impacted.
Recently, while the dolomite beach was open to the public, a crowd of 121,000 people flocked to the beach, disregarding social distancing and resulting in the discharge of Jacob Meimban Jr., who was Manila Bay Task Force (MBTF) ground commander, at the time.
Furthermore, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso expressed ire for DENR officials over failure to work with city hall for the beach’s opening.
Manila Bay’s second phase of rehabilitation has begun and involves beach expansion of up to a maximum of 500 meters.
Apart from the additional tasks to be completed, in order to secure the dolomite sand from washing away once again, Leones said that geoengineering solutions such as geotubes, would be installed.
Though no specific details were shared, Leones declared that the program is slated for completion by year-end or early 2022.