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Cimatu relieves Manila Bay office exec from post after dolomite beach overcrowding

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has relieved the Manila Bay executive assigned as ground commander overseeing the Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach from his post for the overcrowding that occurred over the weekend.

Cimatu on Wednesday announced he relieved Manila Bay Coordinating Office deputy executive director Jacob Meimban Jr. from his post as ground commander due to the incident.

At a press conference, Cimatu apologized that social distancing was disregarded during the opening of the dolomite beach. He vowed that it will never happen again.

“This is the reason why Director Meimban is relieved,” he said.

Meimban was previously designated as the ground commander of the Manila Bay Walk Dolomite Beach. Reuel Sorilla, who is the director for environmental law enforcement and protection service of the department, was tasked to take Meimban's role as ground commander.

Cimatu clarified that Meimban will continue his administrative responsibilities as the deputy executive director of Manila Bay Coordinating Office amid the investigation into the incident.

He denied that Meimban was only used as “sacrificial lamb” for the overcrowding incident in the dolomite beach.

“(Meimban) already said that, being the commander, he takes full responsibility to what happened,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Inter-Agency Task Force will discuss the possibility of filing of charges against Environment officials due to the overcrowding at the dolomite beach over the weekend, NTF chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. said Wednesday.

“We will discuss this [with] IATF. I will raise this coming Thursday meeting… we will try to see kung sino talaga ang may (who has) responsibility,” Galvez said in an interview on CNN.

The dolomite beach was reopened to the public on October 16, the same day the alert level status in the National Capital Region was downgraded from Level 4 to Level 3 amid a downtrend in new COVID-19 cases.

Since then, droves of people visited the controversial artificial beach.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources said 120,000 visitors went to the dolomite beach over the weekend, according to a report on 24 Oras News Alert. —KG/RSJ, GMA News