Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna said the Manila Bay Dolomite Beach will be reopened to the public on June 12 coinciding with the country’s celebration of Independence Day.
Initially scheduled to reopen in May, the DENR has moved the date as some infrastructures have yet to be finished in the area.
“We are excited to open the dolomite beach to the public again on June 12. This is the good legacy of the Duterte administration, that’s why we really aim to open it before President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s term ends,” said Sampulna.
According to DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning, and International Affairs Jonas R. Leones, the 500-meter beach nourishment project, which started in 2020, has withstood rains, typhoons and floods yet remains intact.
“This proves that the dolomite beach, thanks to the assistance of the Department of Public Works and Highways and the other agencies, is stable and will prevail,” he added.
Leones bared that the opening of the dolomite beach beside the US Embassy in Manila will be held with the unveiling of the World War II Heritage Cannon in the Remedios area “to encourage patriotism among the public and to signify that the battle to cleanup Manila Bay is not yet over.”
The Heritage Cannon is one of the original World War II cannons from Fort Drum Island situated at the mouth of Manila Bay.
Even after the current administration, Leones said the Manila Bay Dolomite Beach will remain part of the rehabilitation approach in cleaning Manila Bay in accordance with the writ of continuing mandamus issued by the Supreme Court in 2008.
Meanwhile, Manila Bay Coordinating Office Executive Director Jacob F. Meimban clarified that the beach reopening is only for visitation, walking, and sunset viewing, and not yet for swimming as water quality is still not within the 100 most probable number per 100 milliliters (MPN/100 mL) standard fecal coliform level.
Meimban is positive that the water quality will further improve by the end of the year as one station in the dolomite beach is already at 920 MPN/100 mL coliform level, as of May 13.
Before the start of the rehabilitation efforts, waters near the Manila Baywalk have registered an average coliform level of 5.75 million MPN/100 mL, based on the MBCO’s data in 2019.
Once it reopens, the DENR will allow 1,500 to 3,500 persons at a given time inside the 500-meter span of the dolomite beach to ensure that the minimum health protocols are strictly followed.
Meimban added that online pre-registration is not needed under Alert Level 1, but encouraged visitors to be fully vaccinated before their visit.