Manila Bay rehabilitation

Ermita police chief sacked after Manila Bay ‘white sand beach’ opening

Ermita police chief sacked after Manila Bay ‘white sand beach’ opening

People fill the stretch of Roxas Blvd as they visit the newly opened portion of the Manila Baywalk on Sunday morning, September 20, 2020. The 'white sand' area is open from 6am-6pm.

Photo by KD Madrilejos/Rappler

The Manila Police District will investigate whether Lieutenant Colonel Ariel Caramoan had 'lapses in judgment' in securing the artificial beach's opening, as physical distancing was not followed

The head of the Ermita Police Station was sacked after safety and health protocols were violated during the opening of the artificial white sand beach along Manila Bay.

In a phone call with Rappler on Sunday, September 20, Brigadier General Rolando Miranda, director of the Manila Police District, confirmed that station commander Lieutenant Colonel Ariel Caramoan was administratively relieved.

Miranda said they will investigate whether Caramoan had “lapses in judgment” in securing the artificial beach’s opening, which attracted crowds on Saturday, September 19.

Photos from the event showed that physical distancing protocols, supposed to be in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, were not followed.

“Titingnan natin kung mayroon siyang pagkukulang sa nangyari. Kung wala naman, ibabalik naman natin siya,” said Miranda.

(We’ll see whether there were lapses on his part. If there are none, we’ll reinstate him to his post.)

Joint Task Force (JTF) COVID Shield, the law enforcement arm of the government’s coronavirus task force, said Caramoan “should have taken the initiative in planning and implementing strict security and health safety measures” for the opening of Manila Bay’s “cleaned and beautified portion.”

“Caramoan could have prevented the quarantine protocol violations at the Manila Bay if there [were] prior planning and regular monitoring of the situation in the area,” JTF COVID Shield said in a statement on Sunday.

JTF COVID Shield also urged the public visiting Manila Bay “to observe utmost discipline and be mindful of their own safety.”

The controversial “white sand beach” is part of the government’s efforts to rehabilitate Manila Bay. The “white sand” is made of crushed dolomite, and its dumping for “beautification” at a time when the Philippines is struggling with the coronavirus crisis sparked outrage.

Lieutenant Colonel Alex Daniel was designated as officer-in-charge of the Ermita Police Station. – Rappler.com

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