The station commander of the Ermita Police in Manila was relieved over the weekend following the policemen’s failure to enforce social distancing during the opening of the "white sand beach" on Manila Bay.
Manila Police District Chief Rolando Miranda confirmed that Police Lt. Col. Ariel Caramoan had been removed from his post.
The Ermita Police has jurisdiction over the controversial beach beautification project.
Thousands of people flocked to Roxas Boulevard in Manila before sunrise on Sunday to walk on Manila Bay’s Sands —the white-sand portion of Baywalkviolating social distancing and with some of the visitors even removing their face masks.
Reports said the crowd was already thick as of 5:30 a.m.
On Saturday, thousands of people also flocked to the white sand beach and ignored physical distancing.
As the world celebrated International Coastal Cleanup Day, the staff of various government agencies and members of private organizations gathered on Manila Bay to collect trash.
Several people and vloggers also flocked to Baywalk during its temporary opening to see the white sands.
The sands, comprising crushed dolomite, were spread out on the beach as part of Manila Bay’s rehabilitation efforts and cost P28 million.
The event was attended by Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Danny Lim, Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista, Commission on Higher Education Chairman Prospero De Vera and Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr.
The Manila Bay sands drew criticism after concerns were raised on the effect of crushed dolomite on people’s health.
The area will be closed starting Monday for rehabilitation work to continue on Manila Bay. The day before, reports said traffic slowed down as people occupied up to two lanes of Roxas Boulevard.
Miranda said Caramoan would be reassigned to Manila Police headquarters but did not elaborate.
In a statement, the Joint Task Force COVID Shield said the decision to remove Caramoan was made by PNP Chief Camilo Cascolan.
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