From no spaces to cover up.
The controversial entrance arch of the Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach was covered by black plastic after the spacing of the letters on it was fixed following criticisms over the weekend.
Pictures of the structure were uploaded by Radyo Inquirer on Tuesday where it was talked about by Filipino online users.
“Aww ba’t tinakpan??? Na-compromise naman tuloy mental health ko,” a Twitter user commented in response to the covered arch with a smiling face-with-tear emoji.
“‘We need space,'” Satirical Twitter account “The Professional Heckler” said.
The comments were referencing Palace’s previous reasoning that the dolomite beach could supposedly benefit Filipinos’ state of mental health, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Kasi alam mo, sa gitna ng pandemya, kinakailangan din na pangalagaan ang mental health,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque previously told reporters.
“I think ‘yung pagpapasyal sa mga lugar gaya ng Manila Bay na may white beach, hindi mo maka-quantify ang epekto niyan pagdating po sa mental health ng ating mga kabababayan, ‘yung kapayapaan ng pag-iisip at ‘yung break from ‘yung dangers ng pandemic,” he added.
“Right now, Manila Bay is known for its sunset, probably the best sunset in the world. With the white beach there, it will be one of the most picturesque sceneries in the whole world,” the Palace official further claimed before.
Meanwhile, others quipped that there would be an “unboxing” of the dolomite beach arch, hence its covering.
“May pa-unboxing sila later,” a Twitter user said with a crying face-with-tears emoji.
“Unboxing” is a term that refers to people showing off their purchases online and then describing or commenting about it in front of the camera. Others would also give product reviews.
It is usually done by vloggers and content creators who unbox everything from gadgets to makeup products and other hauls so that their followers can have a preview of what they have bought and what the viewers can buy.
In jest, others said that the arch might be having another signage change.
“Palitan ng Manila Bay Sands, tutal para tayong Singapore,” comedian-host Ramon Bautista tweeted, referencing a 2016 comparison done by a lawmaker who claimed that the country is becoming safer “like Singapore” in terms of safety under the Duterte administration.
The dolomite beach is part of the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program which aims to clean, rehabilitate and preserve the historic bay.
Over the weekend, photos of a finished arch with signage were uploaded online. The entrance served as a finishing touch to the project meant to restore the harbor’s shoreline.
It reads: “MANILABAYWALKDOLOMITEBEACH.”
Two days after, spaces were placed between the letters of the arch after it drew flak.
Despite the change, the arch continued to gain criticism as it reminded some Filipinos of how a cemetery’s entrance gate supposedly looks like.
The dolomite beach project has since stirred controversy due to the government’s perceived misplaced priorities while the country is battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources said that the project is “not untimely” and that it was approved by Congress under the 2019 General Appropriations Act.
It also underwent competitive bidding under Republic Act 9184.
The agency added that the contract was awarded prior to the pandemic and that “the government cannot simply stop a project when it is already under a contractual obligation to proceed.”
“Beach nourishment mainly aims to rehabilitate and protect the coastal resources in the area to prevent coastal flooding and erosion,” DENR said.