The Oriental Mindoro government has temporarily disallowed residents from using water from poso or underground water pumps, following the oil spill from a sunken motor tanker.
According to Oriental Mindoro Governor Humerlito Dolor, the local government will continue to assist its residents, with one of its towns already under a state of calamity.
Residents have been temporarily barred from securing water from underground water pumps starting Sunday, while the quality of the water has yet to be examined.
“Ang pamahalaang panlalawigan at pamahalaang lokal ay magpapadala ng mga tubig inumin para sa inyo,” he said in a report by Jun Veneracion on GMA’s “24 Oras Weekend” on Sunday.
(The provincial and the local government will provide drinking water to you.)
The order covers all barangays with recorded oil slippage, and those with underground water pumps located in areas near the shorelines.
“Kung meron pong magkakaroon ng sightings sa tabi mismo ng kalupaan sa mga baybayin ng Oriental Mindoro, lahat ng barangay captains at kagawad itigil muna ang pagkuha ng tubig sa mga sources na direct na kumukuha sa ilalim ng lupa sa tabi ng shorelines,” Dolor said.
(If there are sightings [of oil] near the shores of Oriental Mindoro, all the barangay captains and kagawads will temporarily stop getting water for the sources that directly get underground water from areas nearby shorelines.)
Dolor said the move is in a bid to avoid the ingestion of possible contaminated water, as he called on the residents to temporarily get their water from other sources.
Moreover, the municipality of Pola on the coast, one of the places most affected by the oil spill, has imposed a curfew from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. on residents aged 15 to 21, to prevent youths from going to the oil spill areas.
These developments unfolded after the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) designated a number of areas in the province off limits due to the oil spill from MT Princess Empress, which was said to be carrying 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil.
The oil has spread to different municipalities in Oriental Mindoro as well as Caluyan in Antique. Authorities are concerned that the oil could reach as far as popular tourist resort island Boracay.
"We have a very slim chance na [makarating] sa Boracay based on the prevailing weather conditions. But what if the weather nag-reverse and nag-change, and the current change? Most likely it will affect [din] ang Boracay," said PCG Western Visayas Chief of Staff Commander Jansen Benjamin.
For her part, Department of Health (DOH) Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said the agency is coordinating with local units to draft guidelines for a clearer framework, urging residents to wear face masks for the time being.
“We are going to draft guidelines para ma-guide natin ang local governments para appropriate lahat ng sinusuot ng komunidad,” she said during a visit to the area.
(We are going to draft guidelines so we can guide local governments so that what the communities wear are appropriate.) — Jon Viktor D. Cabuenas/BM, GMA Integrated News