Año, Cimatu to discuss next move after people flocked to Manila Bay ''white sands beach''
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Monday said he will discuss with Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu what action should the government do following the social distance violation at the Manila Bay ''white sands beach'' last Sunday.
In a TV interview, Año said they have to find out what went wrong after people suddenly flocked in Manila Bay to check and experience the newly-installed artificial sand.
"I will discuss it first with Secretary Cimatu on what will be the course of action here. We will also really check what went wrong,” he said.
Año said there is a lack of preparation in the opening of the area and law enforcers should have expected the influx of people.
“It is expected that a lot of people will go maybe because the lockdown is so long and they people wanted to go to the beach… maybe they want to see it (Manila Bay) with their own eyes,” Año said.
"But I think there is a lack of preparation in enforcing the minimum health standards. The DENR and Manila LGU asked for permission that they will have a two-day activity,” he added.
On Saturday, thousands converged near the Manila Bay to see the crushed dolomites used to place a stretch of white sand. Pictures showed people standing side by side.
He said the Philippine National Police should prepare for the event, too.
"They should have deployed more police and placed barriers. Of course the Manila LGU, they should also prepare for it,” Año said.
Because of the incident, the commander of Ermita Police station was relieved from his post.
According to the PNP chief, General Camilo Cascolan, the incident is not only the fault of the police.
“I would like to be frank. It is not only the police’s fault.Everyone is right?... We always follow the rule of law and when we follow the rule of law we have no choice. It's command responsibility,” Cascolan said in a press briefing.
“The people should cooperate as well… United we will fight as one and your policemen will remain to be respectable, responsible and disciplined,” he added.
Cascolan said the incident should be a lesson to everyone.
“Let that be a lesson not only to the PNP but all of us because if you do that we will always do our job as PNP that's why COVID-19 is not only the fight of police, it’s everyone’s fight,” he said.
“The people should also learn to do what is right,” Cascolan said.
The government officials reminded the public that general community quarantine is still enforced in Metro Manila and they should not go out of their homes.
The Manila Bay Sand has been closed once more for the continuation of its rehabilitation work but people have been seen milling outside the area Monday morning. Ella Dionisio/DMS