A presidential aspirant’s dare for the pandemic task force to file charges against the environment agency on the dolomite beach overcrowding was met by another challenge.
Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, more commonly known as Moreno, on Tuesday said that officials of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) should file charges against the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
He said charges should be made for violations against the government-imposed public health protocols in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Ang ironic kasi diyan, sila yung nagpapatupad, sila rin ‘yung lumalabag,” Moreno told ANC’s “The Headstart.”
“Now I’m challenging agencies of government under IATF to file charges in violation sa mga kapwa nila national government [officials],” he added.
The city chief described the dolomite beach overcrowding as a potential “superspreader” event and slammed the DENR for opening the area without informing the Manila city government.
“Binuksan nila, hindi naman kami ininform,” Moreno said, referring to the Manila Bay Coordinating Office. It is an agency under DENR tasked to coordinate with offices and agencies involved in the rehabilitation, restoration and conservation of the bay.
“If we cannot implement it within our offices, then there’s no point in implementing it sa mga taongbayan. Pinahihirapan natin ang taongbayan, pero ang unang naglalabag ay tayo rin sa national government. It doesn’t make sense,” Moreno said.
Isko supported it
But Moreno already expressed his full support for the project, said DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones, adding that he received a letter from the city mayor earlier this week.
Earlier this year, he also suggested that projects like the dolomite beach could be carried out simultaneously with the government’s pandemic response efforts.
“Things must move on the way we wanted…We must continue to move on. The country must move because economically, we’re hurt,” Moreno had said.
Over the weekend, tens of thousands of Filipinos flocked to the Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach a week after it reopened when the National Capital Region was downgraded to Alert Level 3.
The Department of Health advises individuals to maintain a physical distance of at least one meter from each other as precautionary measures against COVID-19. This is nearly equivalent to a motorcycle’s length.
Jacob Meimban Jr, deputy executive director of the Manila Bay Coordinating Office, said that they have decided to open the gates instead of letting them be congested in the area.
The number of visitors will soon be limited to 4,000 to 5,000 at any given time. To control the crowd, a “cinema approach” will also be implemented wherein people are given stubs for an allotted two-hour stay.
“After two hours, they will leave. We’ll be asking them to leave and we will give time to prepare the area for one hour. After that, we’ll accept another batch of 4,000 individuals to enter,” Leones said.
Do it yourself, Isko dared
Meanwhile, reacting to Moreno’s challenge for the IATF-EID to file charges against the DENR, Filipinos reminded him that he is also the city chief who has jurisdiction over part of the baywalk.
“Weird… ‘la kang lespu (pulis)? Sana ikaw mismo nag-megaphone sa tao hahaha naglinis ka nga ng vandals noon e..” a Twitter user said in response, referring to the time when Moreno attempted to remove vandalisms in his city in 2019.
“Yorme, ‘di ba sakop ‘yung lugar. Why not talk to DENR. ‘Di ‘yung maghuhugas kamay hahahaha,” an online user said.
“Eh bakit as mayor, seeing what’s going on in your city, ‘di ba may authority ka naman to stop it?” another wondered.
“@IskoMoreno should press charges vs. @DENROfficial as the city mayor of Manila!” Dr. Tony Leachon, former special adviser to the National Task Force Against COVID-19, likewise tweeted in response to the reports.
Moreno had argued the dolomite beach project is still within the purview of the DENR while it is still “under construction.”
Once construction activity concludes, the Manila government will have authority over it.