Manila Bay office admits it has 'no control' over large crowd at dolomite beach

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 25) — The Manila Bay Coordinating Office admitted that they “do not have control" over the tens of thousands that flocked to the Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach on Sunday.

Speaking to CNN Philippines' New Day on Monday, MBCO deputy executive director Jacob Meimban said that his office struggles with limiting the number of visitors at the dolomite beach, which measures 1.2 hectares and could only accommodate up to 5,000 people.

Meimban said that while the MBCO has a clicker to log the number of people entering the dolomite beach and has deployed ground commanders to maintain peace and order in the area, they do not have control over who can come in.

"At the moment, everybody is coming in. We do not have that control," he said. "If families come with kids and some elderlies come, we let them in."

The Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach reopened last week as Metro Manila eased to Alert Level 3.

"Yesterday was the biggest number so far compared to the other days. It would run up to tens of thousands," Meimban said.

"We did plan to have the number of people limited there but we did not expect such overwhelming numbers that came," he added.

He also said that they could not impose restrictions on unvaccinated visitors for now because checking everyone's vaccination cards prior to their entry would just take time and cause more crowding.

"If we will close the gate and have them one by one present their vaccination card, it could create a lot of chaos or pandemonium outside," he explained.

The MBCO will assess and see how the situation can be improved. But for now, those who wish to come to the dolomite beach are only expected to observe social distancing and wear face mask.

"We will be evaluating this today. We will be meeting with our partner agencies and we will be coming up with new approaches and a new announcement," Meimban said.

On Sunday, the country recorded over 5,000 new COVID-19 cases, higher than last Wednesday's 3,656 new infections.

OCTA Research fellow Guido David said on Monday that Metro Manila's reproduction number is at 0.48, with a seven-day average of 945 daily cases.

"There is definitely a lot of people outdoors due to pandemic fatigue but we have to do it in a safe manner," he said. "Although we are averaging 900 cases per day in NCR and 5,000 cases in the whole country, the same as pre-pandemic surge levels, we are not yet completely out of the woods.”