BATANGAS CITY — The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday said it is not keen on imposing a swimming ban in Puerto Galera, saying tests that shows traces of grease near the popular beach are “not yet conclusive.”
“Right now, ang affected pa lang naman at ang tinetest natin ay yung nasa shorelines na naapektuhan ng oil spill,” said Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, officer-in-charge of the DOH.
“Puerto Galera is not among those pero nagkaroon sila ng random sampling ng test across the different areas and Puerto Galera has been included,” she said.
“Hindi pa conclusive kaya hindi pa natin masasabi,” she added.
Oriental Mindoro Bonz Dolor earlier said that Puerto Galera and nearby areas recently failed four consecutive water quality tests.
The tests Dolor mentioned were based on random sampling, and the government has yet to have a standard on when to impose a swimming ban based on that method, Vergeire said.
“For now, DOH is really advising the public not to take a bath there and not to drink the water because may mga contaminants na tayo na nadedetect,” she said.
“Ang masasabi ko lang basta lumabas yung test at naipakita talaga na there is this contamination ng mga kemikal na nakikita natin which is harmful for the body, kahit siguro pangalawang test pa lang, hindi pa rin namin papayagan ang public to use the water or to consume the water,” she said.
Meantime, the Health undersecretary advised the public who may have frolicked in contaminated water to watch out for symptoms such as itching and rashes.
Those who may have ingested water contaminated with oil slick usually experience stomachaches, vomiting and loose bowels, while those who inhaled it may feel nauseous, she said,
“If ever na nakapag-swimming kayo sa mga may contamination, what you need to do is to really wash it off with soap and water and then monitor,” Vergeire said.
“Pag may mga ganiyang sintomas at you know you took a bath in contaminated water, go to your doctor,” she said.
Slicks of oil from the sunken MT Princess Empress have devastated several towns in CALABARZON, MIMAROPA and Western Visayas as the grease contaminated water, shorelines and sea produce.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources earlier said that the damage and losses due to the oil spill is nearly P1 billion.