DENR denies dolomite caused fish kill in Manila Bay

Marje Pelayo   •   September 18, 2020   •   853

MANILA, Philippines – A video taken by Regine Nequia, president of Baseco Seaside Neighborhood Association (BASA), showed dead fish floating in Manila Bay near the Baseco Compound on Thursday (September 17) morning.

She said that a similar incident have happened in the past, but the amount of dead fish has not been as large.

Residents are asking authorities to look into the matter not only because their livelihoods depend on the bay, but also because of the stench coming from the rotting fish.

“Ang mga nawalan ng trabaho dyan kumukuha ng pangaraw-araw ding ulam, [Residents who lost their jobs get their daily meal from the fish there],” Nequia said.

“Iyog mga mangingisda naman sa ngayon ay sadyang nababahala kasi dyan nila kinukuha yung kanilang pangkabuhayan, [Fishermen, meanwhile, expressed concern over the incident as they depend (on the bay) for their income],” she added.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has refuted claims that the dolomite or artificial white sand being dumped along Roxas Boulevard was the cause of the fish kill in the bay.

According to Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda, the Baseco area is way far from Roxas Boulevard and the two sections are divided by a breakwater.

He also noted that it seems impossible that the fish kill happened only in Baseco area but not in the Roxas Boulevard area where the dolomite dumping is located.

“It’s impossible na iyong fish kill nandoon lang sa lugar nila pero ang nourishment nandito sa kabila. Also, there is a big divider which is the breakwater so it is really impossible na dito sa atin nanggaling iyon,” Antiporda said.

The official cited similar incidents of fish kill that occurred in October last year which happened in the portions of Las Piñas and Parañaque but that was caused by the lowering of oxygen level in the water.

Nonetheless, Antiporda is not discounting the possibility of a sabotage or someone putting poison in that part of the bay to discredit the ongoing beach nourishment project.

“Mas gusto natin tingnan iyong positive side rather than may nanabotahe but hindi din namin dini-discount iyan at tinitingnan naming mabuti kung meron pa rin bang cyanide fishing,” he said.

The agency has taken water samples from Baseco area and from the site of the white beach project to help in the investigation. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Manila Bay office exec relieved from post over dolomite beach overcrowding

Robie de Guzman   •   October 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines ­– The ground commander assigned to oversee the Manila Bay dolomite beach has been relieved from his post over last weekend’s overcrowding incident.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu announced that he has removed Manila Bay Coordinating Office deputy executive director Jacob Miemban Jr. from his post.

Cimatu said he ordered Miemban’s relief amid the investigation on the overcrowding incident in the dolomite beach.

“We’re not making him a sacrificial lamb. He already said that being the commander, he takes full responsibility for what happened,” Cimatu said.

“While appreciating the gesture of that, kailangan imbestigahan pa rin naman yung nangyari,” he added.

Retired General Ruel Sorilla, who serves as officer-in-charge and director of DENR’s Environmental Law Enforcement and Protection Service, will take over Miemban’s post.

Cimatu said Sorilla has been tasked to strictly implement health protocols in the area that has attracted droves of visitors.

The DENR earlier said it has improved its protocols in admitting visitors to the dolomite beach to prevent the occurrence of similar incident.

It is also eyeing to temporarily close the man-made beach from Oct. 29 to Nov. 3.

The dolomite beach was reopened to the public last Oct. 16 when Metro Manila shifted to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 from Level 4 amid decreasing coronavirus cases.

Mga papayagang pumasok sa Manila Bay dolomite beach, hanggang 4K lang; mga bata, bawal – DENR

Robie de Guzman   •   October 26, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines ­– Lilimitahan na ng Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) ang bilang ng mga bisitang maaaring makapasok sa Manila Bay dolomite beach.

Ayon kay DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones, nasa 4,000 bisita lamang ang papayagang makapasok na carrying capacity ng lugar.

“Ang problem lang natin, during weekdays, talagang bumibigla, pumapalo talaga ng hindi na bumababa ng 18,000 and above ang number of persons. So, ang gagawin lang natin, with our strategy, we will meet lang yung carrying capacity ng area mga 4,000 to 5,000 lang ang nasa loob,” ang wika ng opisyal.

Upang mapagbigyan ang iba pang mga bisita na makapasok sa dolomite beach, ipatutupad ang limitadong oras sa pagtigil sa lugar.

Kapag weekend, ipaiiral ang “cinema approach” kung saan may scheduling o may oras ang pagpasok sa lugar.

Palalabasin ang mga ito pagkatapos ng dalawang oras para naman sa iba pang mga bisita.

Kapag dagsa ang tao sa weekdays, ipatutupad naman ang rotation system kung saan maari lang tumigil sa loob ng pasyalan hanggang labinglimang minuto.

Upang maiwasan ang pila sa labas ng dolomite beach, planong gumamit ng DENR ng smartphone app o bigyan ang mga bisita ng stub na maipapakita nila kapag oras na ng kanilang pagpasok.

Bibigyan naman ng special lane ang mga vulnerable sectors gaya ng senior citizens, buntis at may karamdaman.

Pagbabawalan namang pumasok sa dolomite beach ang mga batang may edad 11 pababa, alinsunod sa guidelines ng Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).

“Consistent with the IATF protocols, we followed our determination of the age based on the availability nung vaccination natin. Kung mapapansin ninyo, the government has already implemented the vaccination of 12 years old and above,” ani Leonas.

Layunin ng bagong patakaran na maiwasan na ang pagdagsa ng mga tao gaya nang nangyari sa mga nakalipas na linggo.

Magugunitang, umabot sa mahigit 121,000 indibidwal ang bumisita sa Manila Bay dolomite beach noon lamang araw ng Linggo. Dahil sa dami ng tao, hindi na natupad ang social distancing protocol at may iba pang hindi nakasuot ng maayos ang kanilang face mask.

Isasara naman ang dolomite beach tuwing Biyernes upang bigyang-daan ang maintenance activities.

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.

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