'Cinema approach' policy to be implemented in Dolomite beach — DENR

Published October 26, 2021, 12:25 PM

by Joseph Pedrajas

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will use a “cinema approach” in its operation of the Dolomite beach in the Manila Bay to avoid repeat of violations of health protocols against COVID-19, which were observed for the past two weeks since it reopened to the public.

DENR Usec. Jonas Leones said Tuesday that the agency will limit the number of people in the area to 4,000 for every given time. This can be done through distributing stubs for entry.

“Beforehand, meron na silang notice na ganitong oras sila pupunta (they will be given notice about their schedule of visit). So there will be no need for long queues outside the Dolomite kasi (because) they will not be staying there,” Leones said in a press conference.

Visitors will also only be allowed to stay for up to two hours, just like when they are watching a movie in theaters, “to enjoy the scenery and the area.”

The Dolomite beach will open starting 5:30 a.m. until 6 p.m., Leones said.

The said policy will most likely be implemented during weekends when there is a deluge of people, as during weekdays DENR “does not have any problem with the crowd.”

Previously, DENR allowed anyone, regardless of age or vaccination status, inside the Dolomite beach. But on Monday night, it issued a statement barring children below 12 years old Tuesday, Oct. 26.

Aside from these, DENR also decided to implement the following:

• Close the area every Friday for maintenance work

• Close the area from Oct. 29 to Nov. 3 in observance of the All Souls’ Day and the All Saints’ Day and in accordance with the national government’s pandemic task force protocols

• Implement “substantial reduction of visitors” to give way for the pending rehabilitation works in the Manila Bay

Currently, Metro Manila is under Alert Level 3. Under the national government’s guidelines, minors or those 18 years old below are still not allowed to go out, except for essential purposes, such as availing medical or government services, and outdoor exercises.

Asked about defying the rule by still allowing in the Dolomite beach those 12 to 17 years old, Leones only seemed clueless about the guidelines and said they would still accommodate those from the age group as they are now qualified for COVID-19 vaccine.

“Minors 17 and below? I think that’s a legal term eh… ‘Yung (Those_ 12 to 17… we vaccinate now itong (this) age group na to eh. Ang sinasabi natin dito vaccinated na sila, baka naman pepwede na silang lumabas din…’Yun ang ginawa natin basehan (What we’re saying is they’re already vaccinated, so perhaps they’re already allowed to go out. That’s our basis),” he said.

For the past two weekends, tens of thousands of people flocked the Dolomite beach, making various government agencies and officials alarmed over the situation.

From at least 25,000 people recorded on Oct. 17, it swelled to 121,744 on Oct. 24, according to Manila Bay Coordinating Office Deputy Executive Director Jacob Meimban.

“The total number of visitors for the past nine days is 322,718,” he said.