Dolomite beach gets talked about anew after Manila flooding

August 9, 2022 - 5:20 PM
Dolomite beach arch
People pass by the Manila Bay dolomite beach along Roxas Boulevard on on Sept. 26, 2021. (The STAR/Jesse Bustos)

The Manila Bay dolomite beach once again became the subject of online debates after a report mentioned its involvement in the recent flooding in some parts of Manila.

In a report of GMA News, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority reportedly said that the flooding in some streets of Manila last Friday was caused by the Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach project.

In a separate GMA report, MMDA acting general manager Baltazar Melgar cited an unfinished pumping station related to Manila Bay.

Melgar explained that the Department of Public Works and Highways installed a pumping station and pipe as part of a government project for a sewerage treatment plant.

This sewerage treatment plant was supposed to treat the water first before being released to the dolomite beach along Manila Bay.

The pumping station and the pipe, however, are still under construction.

This project also led to the closure of three of Manila’s main drainage systems—the Padre Faura Drainage, Remedios Drainage and the Estero De San Antonio.

This reportedly led to heavy flooding around these areas amid torrential rains last weekend.

“Hindi pa natatapos ang project ng DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) ‘yung pumping station and installation ng pipe…so mabagal ang pag-subside ng tubig baha,” Melgar was quoted in the report as saying.

DPWH Secretary Manuel Bonoan in a radio interview quoted their personnel in the National Capital Region and explained that the project has yet to be completed because of the additional requirement from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

“Itong tatlong pumping stations na sinasabi natin kailangan po i-enhance ‘yung capacity ng mga bomba diyan kasi nag-require ang DENR na i-extend ‘yung mga pipes going to Manila Bay para hindi madumihan ang dolomite beach,” Bonoan was quoted as saying.

When asked if the unfinished project caused the flooding, the DPWH chief responded, “partly po.”

Several main roads in Manila were submerged in a gutter-deep flood due to torrential rains last Friday, August 5.

Affected areas included the thoroughfares of Kalaw, Quirino, United Nations Avenue and Pedro Gil in Manila.

MMDA’s clarification

In an update on Tuesday, August 9, Melgar said that the dolomite beach has no connection to the flooding incidents.

“Dolomite Beach has no connection to the recent flooding in the area,” he said.

“The reason why flood water subsided slowly during heavy rains last Friday was the ongoing construction of three pumping stations and a pipeline by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) which is expected to be completed by October,” he added.

Melgar emphasized that the pumping stations are part of the government’s solutions to decrease the high coliform level count in the water, thus making the bay “swimmable” again.

Talks on flooding, tourist spot

Some Filipinos defended the artificial beach. They pointed their fingers at the DPWH for its unfinished project instead.

“DPWH ang may problema, di pa nila tinapos ung sewage. Tapos isisisi sa Dolomite jusko. Kasalanan ba ng dolomite beach na di pa tapos yung sewage system na ginagawa ng DPWH?” another onlibe user said. 

Commuters who were inconvenienced by the floods, meanwhile, voiced their ire over it.

“I was not able to go home that night,” one commuter said.

“You mean to tell me that I got stuck in Taft for about 6 hours because of THAT,” another commuter tweeted.

Some Filipinos also brought back the concerns that they aired about the place when it was still being developed.

“The Manila Dolomite beach project exacerbates the production of flood hazard-scape in Manila. DENR refuses to believe us, and even called us ‘bayaran’,” a geographer said.  

“At ayan na po. The Dolomite beach was an already sketchy waste of money, it further damaged the ecosystem, and now it’s come to bite back and harm Filipinos. All of this in plain sight,” one user tweeted.

Other users quipped about their mental health being affected by the renewed controversy over the site.

This was in reference to a former Palace spokesperson’s remark when asked about the negative feedback against the Manila Bay program in 2020.

“I think yung pagpapasyal sa mga lugar tulad ng Manila Bay na may white beach, hindi mo maka-quantify ang epekto niyan pagdating po sa mental health,” Harry Roque was quoted in a report back then.

RELATED: From misplaced priorities to lack of transparency, Manila Bay ‘white sand’ project raises more questions