Labella orders water suppliers in Guadalupe to halt operations

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita, Michelle Joy L. Padayhag October 06,2014 - 02:59 AM

Acting Mayor Edgardo Labella has ordered water suppliers in barangay Guadalupe to temporarily stop their operations pending the results of water samples after six residents from sitio Katugasan were brought to the hospital last Saturday.

Cebu City health officials still can’t identify the specific disease since they are still waiting for the laboratory results from the hospital and as well as the water samples.

Dr. Daisy Villa, Cebu City Health Officer said, “We are still conducting a deeper investigation regarding this matter. There are a lot of things to be considered.”

Sanitary inspectors from the city health department visited the mountainous sitios of Lumbani, Tugasan and Sandayong in the barangay to have their water tested for possible contamination after several residents were rushed to the hospital due to fever, muscle pains and diarrhea.

Results of the water tests will be known either today or Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Labella has asked Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) General Manager Ernie Delco to deliver water to the area “if it becomes necessary.” This was confirmed by Delco who said they are ready to help the city and supply water in the area.

Last Saturday, Cesario Desoacido and two of his five children John Mark and Cenlie Mae are also among the patients that were brought to VSMMC.

A nurse who asked not to be named for lack of authority to speak in behalf of the hospital said that the family was not admitted but only given medicines for them to rehydrate.

Nonoy Mongaya, VSMMC information officer also told Cebu Daily News that the hospital staff are closely monitoring six patients from Guadalupe who are now at the non-trauma Emergency Room (ER).
Water suppliers probed

“I will also have to check if the water suppliers in the area have the necessary permits and documents. I think they should be registered with the National Water Resources Board (NWRB),” Labella added.

“Although it’s not yet confirmed that it’s the water that caused the sickness among the residents, I have ordered the temporary closure of the water sources in the area just to be sure,” Labella said.

Nine samples were taken from different water suppliers and sellers in three sitios in Guadalupe – Lumbani, Tugasan and Sandayong.

Among the bigger sources is of the Lumbani Home Owners Association Cooperative which sources water from a deep well.

According to Ricky Galeos who manages the coop’s water supply, it has been there for five years and is being used by some 500 residents for both drinking and other uses.

“We have a sanitary permit from the City Health Office and we regularly have it checked every six months,” he said.

Another water source named Adakat also sells underground water which the owners claim as potable.

They also took samples from a supplier in the higher sitio of Tugasan which is sourced from a river in sitio Sandayong. The water is pumped from the river into a tank in sitio Tugasan where it is treated and sold. But residents in the sitio said they only use the water for taking baths and not for drinking.

Another supplier is also present near the river itself.

City Health Officer Dr. Daisy Villa said they instructed the owners of the water supplies to temporarily stop selling the water while waiting for the test results.

“If the residents need drinking water, I recommend that they boil it for at least 30 minutes. There are also other possible causes of the disease like their food, utensils or dirty hands which can transmit bacteria from hand-to-mouth,” Villa said.

During the inspection, Villa noticed that there were several leaks and connections from the water pipes that were covered only with rubber and not with plastic couplings.

She said these can be a possible source of contamination especially with the recent rains that might sweep bacteria into the leaks.

“Rubber can deteriorate when exposed to heat and can allow bacteria to seep in. There are also no proper toilets in the area which increase the possibility of bacteria contamination like E. Coli or Amoebiasis,” Villa said.

Although it’s not yet confirmed that it’s the water which caused sickness among the residents, Labella said it’s still important to look into the water sources of the city’s barangays especially in far-flung sitios.

Wider study

He said he will instruct the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) to order all of the city’s 80 barangays to study and look into the concerns of their residents in terms of sources of potable water. The acting mayor admitted that access to potable water is still a problem for the farther areas of the city.

“We have to look into this. We can’t just close our eye. This is a wake up call. The barangay officials should really look into the supply of water in their areas. This is a matter of health concern. Water is the source of life and people drink water more than anything else,” Labella said.

He also said there is really a need for the MCWD to expand their services in order to reach even the far-flung barangays.

According to Guadalupe barangay councilor Apol Ross Enriquez, several cases of fever and diarrhea were recorded since last week.

“I asked our barangay health workers to survey the area for others who manifest the same fever and diarrhea. They were able to list seven cases in three households from sitios Tugasan and Sandayong,” said Enriquez who also heads the barangay’s health committee.

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TAGS: Cebu City, diarrhea, Guadalupe, health, sanitation, water

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