The Manila Bay white sand beach could re-open to the public after the pandemic, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said on Tuesday.
“I will personally propose to Secretary Roy Cimatu, to our Manila Bay Task Force, that we will open this after this pandemic,” he said during an interview over CNN Philippines.
“I think that’s the best time to re-open it,” Antiporda said following the large crowds that flocked to the controversial artificial white beach in violation of health protocols.
The white sand beach area has been closed to the public until the project is completed.
“I would like to apologize for what happened this weekend,” said Antiporda.
He said the DENR did its part in ensuring health protocols were followed when the beach was opened to the public last weekend.
“Our jurisdiction is only in the entrance and the white sand area. So we have done our part and social distancing and other health protocols were implemented well,” he said.
“Very sad na yung influx nung tao hindi siguro na-expect nung mga authorities (It’s very sad that authorities may have not expected the large crowd),” Antipordo said. Police officials were relieved because of the lack of crowd control.
He also assured that the dolomite used for the white sand beach is safe and that it will not be washed away during strong storms.
He added that contrary to allegations, the dolomite used in the white sand beach contains no harmful heavy metals.
“We conduct our very own check before the shipment of the dolomite from Cebu to Manila. There’s a check already in our regional office. We have a result saying that wala naman siyang heavy metal (it contains no heavy metals),” he said.
“But we’ve done another check again here and until this very moment wala pa kaming nakikitang heavy metals diyan (we haven’t seen any heavy metals at this moment),” he added.
Antiporda admitted that the sand there will naturally erode over time and, because of this, maintenance has to be ensured.
“We have engineering interventions on this. We have the so-called geotextiles and geotubes that protect the white sand,” Antipordo said, to ensure that the dolomite sands will not be easily washed away.
“Research and studies were done before the project was started,” he said.
Antiporda said the concerns being raised over the white sand beach are all pure speculations and have no basis at all.