Press Releases

We are well aware that we are still in a pandemic situation.

When we opened the Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach, we did not expect that it would be warmly accepted by throngs of Filipinos from all walks of life, who descended on the Dolomite beach in the west of Metro Manila, breathing fresh air, walking on the dolomite sands, and above all, gazing at the famous manila bay sunset. We saw that they enjoyed the much-needed respite from the monotony of numerous lockdowns that we have experienced for the past 2 years now.

It is against this backdrop that the Dolomite Beach reopens.

The DENR wants to provide our people with an open space, amidst the Pandemic, with a magnificent vista of white sand and seascape. We also want to show to our people how we manage to turn this trash-laden and polluted area before into a clean white beach through the beach nourishment approach.

And the public acceptance has been surprisingly overwhelming through the thousands of people trooping to the Dolomite Beach since we opened on Oct. 16 up to yesterday.

We are aware that if this situation continue, and the minimum health standards are ignored, this may bring us to a scenario of a possible super spreader event.

We have, therefore, immediately implemented the temporary ban on minors to enter the
Dolomite Beach, consistent with IATF protocols.

In addition, members of the Manila Bay Task Force had agreed yesterday to implement the following measures to significantly reduce the number of visitors to the Dolomite Beach in order to check the spread of COVID-19 and following IATF protocols, viz:

1. The Dolomite Beach is closed every Friday for maintenance work.

2. The Dolomite Beach will be closed on Oct 29-Nov 3 in the observance of Undas and in accordance with IATF protocols.

3. Observance of the minimum health protocols will be strictly observed by implementing measures to meet the capacity of the area to avoid crowding and to give way to some repairs in some parts of the beach.

4. SUBSTANTIAL REDUCTION of visitors will be imposed TO GIVE WAY TO PENDING REHABILITATION WORKS IN THE DOLOMITE BEACH AREA, PARTICULARLY THE ACTIVITIES TO ADDRESS WATER QUALITY. As such, crowd control measures will be implemented, such as, rotation approach and cinema approach, wherein allotment of time to visit and stay will be imposed.

5. In accordance with existing laws, PWD, Senior citizens, and pregnant women are to be accorded with a special lane inside the Dolomite Beach.

We respectfully request your understanding.

Rest assured that the DENR with close collaboration of the member agencies of the Manila Bay Task Force, will continue to clean and rehabilitate Manila Bay.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has reiterated the importance of the dolomite beach in the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program, noting how the beach enhancement project can positively shape the mindset of the public on proper solid waste management.

In his keynote speech during the launch of the DENR’s Solid Waste Management Advocacy Campaign on Oct. 15, Cimatu said he envisions the full restoration of the historic bay as a way to inspire Filipinos' behavioral change towards the environment.

By making Manila Bay more attractive and clean, the DENR chief said the public will be inspired to practice proper solid waste management and shun environmentally-destructive habits.

"Why did we beautify the Baywalk when we can have just settled with its old appearance? You see, our intention is to dramatically change it so that when you enter there, your mindset and attitude will improve," Cimatu said a day before the dolomite beach at Manila Bay was reopened to the public on Oct. 16.

"This is really our intention for doing this, for us not to go back to the old, dirty Manila Bay," he stressed.

Cimatu, who is chair of the Manila Bay Task Force which launched the “Battle for Manila Bay” in 2019, underscored the importance of instilling behavioral change among Filipinos as he pointed out that solid waste management remains "one of the biggest challenges" faced by the DENR.

In line with this, the DENR under Cimatu’s leadership had launched the Solid Waste Management Advocacy Campaign, a youth-focused advocacy drive that aims to spur behavioral change towards the environment and mobilize the citizenry on the proper handling and disposal of solid waste.

Cimatu also enjoined Filipino families to be DENR’s partners in this and other similar efforts and programs. He said that good practices instilled by parents on their children can positively contribute to the care and restoration of the country's environment and natural resources.

The DENR, together with its "estero rangers" and government and non-government partners, likewise continue to implement the Manila Bay rehabilitation program through various cleanup activities in the historic bay and its connecting waterways.

Once the rehabilitation project is done, Cimatu expressed confidence that the Filipino youth will someday be proud of the Manila Bay and the culture change that, hopefully, he said, they will inherit.

"When the next generation witnesses this, they will say — 'This is beautiful. Mabuti nalang nagawa ito noon.' I know that the next generation will say that," Cimatu said.

He added: “When they grow up, they wouldn’t think our country is a third world country because they’ll see this as very orderly, clean, and beautiful. This is really intended for the next generation.” ###

 

To fulfill its mandate to reverse the degradation of the world-famous island in Aklan, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is determined to finish the work of the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) before its term ends in June 2022.

DENR Secretary and BIATF chair Roy A. Cimatu said the term extension given to the task force should be enough to tie up all the loose ends of the island’s rehabilitation.

"As we all know, the 2022 polls is just around the corner, thus, we must ensure that we have the proper mechanisms in place so that our hard work and efforts would not turn to naught," Cimatu said during the BIATF meeting in Boracay Island on Friday, Oct. 22.

“We hope that what we leave behind for Boracay would be those that are worthy to be sustained or built upon by those succeeding us,” he added.

The task force, co-chaired by the Department of Tourism and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, was created on May 8, 2018, under Executive Order (EO) No. 53.

During the meeting with BIATF officials, Cimatu reported that water quality in the beaches of Boracay has significantly improved since the rehabilitation of the island destination started in 2018.

Water samples in 2018 showed that fecal coliform level was at 900 most probable number per 100 milliliters (MPN/100 ml).

Cimatu said that fecal coliform levels from 21 stations are now down to 45 MPN/100 ml on average.

Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation and Management Group (BIARMG) General Manager Natividad Bernardino said the June 2022 target is a "realistic goal for its total completion," citing that the 25+5 beach easement is now 83 percent complete.

Bernardino added that 282 of the 339 structures including commercial, residential, and other establishments encroaching on the 25+5-meter beach easement have been demolished. Only a few remaining houses are left for demolition.

The 34 affected fisherfolk residents were given cash assistance amounting to close to Php 1 million by the municipal government of Malay, provincial government of Aklan and the Department of Social Welfare and Development

"We have to do it. Hindi pwedeng hindi. Gawin natin," Cimatu said, referring to the removal of illegally-built structures on the island.

After the meeting, Cimatu conducted beach forest tree-planting of around 50 agojo seedlings commonly known as native pine trees along the White Beach at Station 3.

"We are doing this as a nature-based solution to address the issue that the 25+5 easement has shrunk a bit because of soil erosion,” Cimatu explained. “I am glad that other beach resorts have also committed to participate by planting Agojo and other appropriate tree species.”

The whole stretch of the white beach is targeted to be included in the tree-planting activity.

Among the lost wetlands, Wetland No. 9 is almost cleared of illegal settlers except for one remaining house.

Wetland No. 6, adopted by Boracay Tubi System Inc. and which has been previously cleared, will be fenced to prevent possible encroachment.

For the enforcement of the 12-meter road right of way for the widening and improvement of the Boracay Circumferential Road, 86 percent of establishments or 1,057 of 1,230 total structures that have been demolished are now compliant with the 12-meter road easement.

These consist of commercial, residential, and a combination of both and institutional establishments.

By the second quarter of 2022, the task force is targeting 94 percent compliance or an additional 142 establishments demolished.

The demolition of the remaining structures is expected by the end of 2020 when Phase 4 of the road improvement project would have been completed.

For her part, Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the COVID-19 vaccination of the island’s residents and tourism workers is expected to reach 100 percent by the end of October 2021 with the arrival of 35,100 doses of Pfizer vaccine on Oct. 21.

Almost 92 percent of the tourism workers including tricycle drivers, souvenir shop personnel, and massage therapists have received their first dose or 11,779 of 12,809 workers while 77.87 percent or 19,039 of 24,451 residents have received their first dose. ###

 

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has launched the "Basura Buster" mobile gaming application as an alternative tool to practice proper waste segregation, especially designed for children 5 to 8 years of age.

Basura Buster is a web-based gaming application that teaches players proper waste segregation in an educational and entertaining manner.

It was launched as one of the projects under the DENR's Solid Waste Management Advocacy Campaign, which seeks to instill better environmental behavior among Filipinos.

Through the campaign, the DENR will be enlisting the youth by strengthening partnerships and collaborations, technology, as well as information, education, and communication.

"Amidst the pandemic, solid waste management is undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges in our country today. And as technology is evidently valuable in the education of children, we have created this educational game app to build a firm foundation on managing solid waste while they are still young," said DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

"I’d like to invite parents and children to download the Basura Buster game app on their phones and tablets. Through this app, we hope to spread awareness, change behavior, and train kids on environmental protection that they can practice at home,” added DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units (LGUs) Concerns Benny D. Antiporda.

Basura Buster is free for download at the Google Play Store. It is a simple drag and drop game where players will place “falling” trash in the correct trash bin.

Trash bins are color-coded according to the nationally accepted standards to educate kids on proper segregation and disposal—green for biodegradable waste, black for residual, blue for recyclable, and yellow for household healthcare.

Built with fun animation, each correct match allows players to earn points and get the chance to advance to the next level or lose “lives” and repeat the level for incorrect matches.

Each level holds different degrees of difficulty as the number of colored trash bins to match and its speed increase.

The app also features a leaderboard where players can see top scores and compete with kids nationwide, and even with those from other countries.

The Basura Buster App is a project by the DENR's Strategic Communication and Initiatives Service and DENR-Environmental Management Bureau's Solid Waste Management Division. ###

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) expressed elation over the strong public reception of the Manila Bay Dolomite Beach when it reopened to the public on Saturday, October 16, as Metro Manila was eased into Alert Level 3 status.

“We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the public which made the reopening of the Manila Bay Dolomite Beach truly successful,” said DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

Crowds flocked to Roxas Boulevard to spend some time and take selfies on the dolomite beach—the newest tourist attraction along the Manila Baywalk area—with DENR personnel and security marshals making sure that health and safety protocols were strictly observed.

The public got to experience the dolomite beach for the first time when it briefly opened from July 18 to 21. The 140-meter beach area comprises the Phase 1 of the Manila Bay Beach Nourishment Project of the DENR.

The reopening of the dolomite beach was a collective decision of the Manila Bay Inter-Agency Task Force headed by Cimatu, following the downgrading of COVID-19 alert level in Metro Manila.

Aside from promoting positive mental health, Cimatu said the dolomite beach offers another option to view the scenic Manila Bay sunset aside from the customary sunset view at the Baywalk portion near Remedios Street in Malate, Manila.

“We will gradually expand the area accessible to the public for viewing in the coming weeks as we progress on with the completion of the project,” Cimatu said.

During the soft opening of the dolomite beach in July, only 120 visitors per batch were allowed to stay for 5 minutes from 9 a.m to 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

This time around, Cimatu said visitors may stay as long as they want to while the limit of 300 individuals will have to be observed during the adjusted open hours from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

There is no need for people to be vaccinated to enter the premises, but wearing of face masks is mandatory, Cimatu said.

The DENR official said the use of face shield is optional.

Cimatu said that while the rehabilitation efforts “have already made a significant improvement in its water quality,” bathing is still prohibited as the waters still haven’t reached the standard level acceptable for swimming.

According to DENR Administrative Order 2016-08 on Water Quality Guidelines and General Effluent Standards of 2016, fecal coliform level for marine water bodies should be at 100 most probable number per 100 milliliters to be classified as Class SB or fit for swimming and other contact recreation.

Visitors are also not allowed to bring food, drinks and pets; pick up dolomite sand; spit; and litter.

“We appeal to the public not to litter at all times while in the vicinity. Leave nothing but good memories behind after your visit to the beachfront,” Cimatu appealed. ###