MANILA, Philippines — Ermita Police Station’s commander was relieved from his post after failure to control the thousands of people who flocked to see the dolomite white sand make-over at Manila Bay beachwalk, violating social distancing protocols.
Brig. Gen. Rolando Miranda, Manila Police District (MPD) director, confirmed to reporters the relief of Lt. Col. Ariel Caramoan. He observed that there were more visitors at Manila Bay on Sunday than when it opened briefly to the public Saturday.
The crowd caused traffic along Roxas Boulevard that was closed Saturday for the International Coastal Clean-Up Day.
Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso’s chief-of-staff, Cesar Chavez said that they were shocked at the number of people who flocked to Manila Bay.
“Nabigla rin kami (We were also surprised),” he told reporters. “Mukhang mahihirapan kami (It looks like it would be difficult for us to control the crowd).”
“While we are happy that people are enjoying, we should maintain physical distancing because there is still COVID-19 in Manila,” he added.
In a statement on Sunday, Joint Task Force COVID Shield said it was thankful to PGen. Camilo Cascolan for making the move, saying Ermita police chief PLtCol. Ariel Caramoan should have planned and implemented “strict security and health safety measures” in the area.
JTF COVID Shield Commander PLtGen. Guillermo Eleazar told CNN Philippines that they received word that large crowds were in the area at around 6 a..m, prompting the Manila Police District director and other personnel to respond.
“Ibig sabihin ay dapat palang ma-prevent yan, dapat naisip na niya yan. At hindi ‘yung magre-react tayo kapag nangyari na itong sitwasyon na ito,” he said.
He said what happened to Caramoan should serve as a lesson to others — that they should plan and have the initiative to respond to similar situations.
Caramoan will be replaced by PLtCol. Alex Daniel as officer-in-charge.