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PB member urges agencies to strengthen campaign vs. water pollution

| by: Fides Palicte

Public health proposals topped the list in Provincial Board (PB) Member Miguel Antonio Magpale’s legislative agenda.

A proposed resolution, taken up at the April 4 session, urges all local government units (LGUs), Department of Environment and Natural Resources 7, Environmental Management Bureau 7, and the Cebu Provincial Health Office to strengthen their campaign against water pollution. In the proposed resolution, Magpale is concerned with its effects on humans as much as its  damage to living organisms and water quality. The fifth district representative from Danao City also cited the condition of polluted rivers in the province,

On the basis of Republic Act 9275 (An Act Providing for a Comprehensive Water Quality Management and for Other Purposes), section 27 (a) acts prohibited are discharging, depositing or causing to be deposited material of any kind that may end up washed out into the sea or other surface water either by floods or other means, that impede its natural flow.

Another law strengthens the proposed resolution provided for in section 2 of Repuiblic Act 3931 (An Act Creating the National Water and Air Pollution Control Commission). Section 2 briefly states that any form of alteration by physical, biological or chemical properties on water or air is believed to be harmful to all animal and human life.

A second proposed resolution calls on the Department of Health Regional Office, through the Cebu Provincial Health Office, and Department of Education to come together to address the problem on the lack of toilets and wash basins in all public schools province-wide.

One of Magpale’s basis for said resolution is his observation that there are still public schools in the province where there is a shortage of toilet and hand washing facilities. He said this prevalent situation poses health hazards to students, especially for female students who he believes need more water.

According to World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund data, the standard ratio of toilet per pupil is 1:50 for males (if urinals are present) and 1:25 for females.

A timely measure for summertime when diseases are anticipated is a proposal urging all LGUs through their local health offices to intensify their campaign to ensure food safety in tourist destinations and to periodically inspect concerned establishments located within tourist destinations.

Article 3, section 5 of RA 10611 (An Act to Strengthen the Food Safety Regulatory System in the Country to Protect Consumer Health and Facilitate Market Access of Local Foods and Food Products, and for Other Purposes) provides guidelines that ensure food safety, such as determining factors in determining food safety and when it is injurious to health.

The Tourism Department expects high local and foreign tourist arrivals from March to May.

DOT has also emphasized the need to come up with appropriate measures that have an impact on travellers’ convenient accommodations.

Relative to this proposal is one that urges LGUs and component cities, through the local health office, to require tourist destinations, facilities and establishments to comply with sanitary requirements, ensuring the cleanliness of lavatories, toilets and wash areas.

Chapter 3, section 7 of the Sanitation Code requires health officers “to function in areas under their jurisdiction, enforce provisions of the sanitation code.”

Because the influx of tourists is expected, their security is not only confined to peace and order but security as well from unsanitary environment.