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Max 15 minutes inside: Año orders PNP, DENR, MMDA to prevent overcrowding at dolomite beach

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MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday said it is undertaking serious efforts to prevent crowding at the Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach, which reopened to visitors under relaxed quarantine restrictions.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año made the remark after Malacañang said the possible filing of cases against officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as suggested by Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso’ over the supposed breach of health protocols following the opening of the beach is up to his agency.

Domagoso made the call, saying the overcrowding at the dolomite beach can be a super-spreader event for coronavirus disease 2019.

“(I) have already directed the PNP, particularly the MPD (Manila Police District) under Brig. Gen. (Leo) Francisco to coordinate with DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) and MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority) the other day to come up with measures to regulate the number of people to be allowed to enter the dolomite beach area,” he said in a message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

Meanwhile, Año’s remarks were echoed by DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya.

“Nagbigay ng direktiba si Secretary Eduardo Año sa MPD sa pangunguna ni Brig. Gen. Leo Francisco at ito po ang naging report ano, tugon nila, mag-iimplement po tayo ng mga mas mahigpit na regulasyon dun sa access ng tao dun sa dolomite beach ano, meron po tayong five minute rule, maximum 15 mintues depende sa numero ng tao, meron po tayong limitasyon ng individuals na papapasukin (Secretary Eduardo Año gave a directive to the Manila Police District and based on their report, they will implement stricter regulations on the access of people to the dolomite beach. We have a five minute rule and a maximum of 15 minutes depending on the number of people, we also have a limitation on the number of people who will be allowed to enter),” Malaya said in a Laging Handa briefing.

Reacting to calls to close the beach during weekends, he said this decision is up to the DENR.

“This is a project of the DENR so they have the jurisdiction over this. We leave it to the DENR but as for our part at the DILG, we will support them and help them implement the regulations to prevent super-spreader events at the dolomite beach,” he added.

Meanwhile, MPD chief Brig. Gen. Leo Francisco said they have deployed more police officers in the area.

“As of yesterday (Tuesday), we deployed 100 PNP personnel and we have 50 force multipliers in the area, We started our deployment last October 16, with 38 personnel. The PNP personnel were deployed for Implementation on social distancing and minimum health protocol and to provide security and police assistance in the area,” Francisco added. (with Priam Nepomuceno/PNA)