Residents affected by the oil spill in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro and in other areas were urged to temporarily evacuate.
Department of Health Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire made the statement following the oil spill incident caused by the capsized motor tanker (MT) Princess Empress in the province of Oriental Mindoro. The oil spill is spreading to more areas.
“Pinapaalalahanan ng Kagawaran ng Kalusugan ang mga mamamayan ng kung ang lugar ng oil spill ay malapit sa inyong tirahan, mas mainam kung tayo ay humanap ng pansamantalang matitirahan habang ito ay hindi pa nakakalap (The Department of Health is reminding citizens that if the oil spill is near your residence, it would be better if you seek temporary shelter while it is not yet contained),” said Vergeire in a statement on Sunday, March 5.
If the affected residents are not able to evacuate, they should observe the necessary precautions, said the health official.
“Huwag lumangoy sa mga lugar na apektado ng langis. Iwasang madikit sa sediment, buhangin, lupa, o mga bagay na kontaminado ng langis (Do not swim in affected areas. Avoid contact with sediment, sand, soil, or other oil-contaminated objects),” she said.
“Huwag gumamit ng tubig na kontaminado ng langis para sa pagkonsumo ng mga tao o hayop. At huwag kumain ng isda, molusko, at iba pang pagkaing-dagat na nahuli sa lugar malapit sa oil spill (People and animals should avoid consumption of oil-contaminated water. Do not eat fish, seashells, and other seafood caught in the area near the oil spill),” she added.
In a separate advisory, the DOH also reminded responders, volunteers, and cleanup workers that they should wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as protective suits, safety glasses, and gloves during their operations, the DOH said. They should also clean the PPE after use.
On Sunday, Vergeire and other DOH officials visited the oil spill affected areas in Oriental Mindoro to provide assistance to the communities.
Medicines, face masks, nebulizers, oxygen concentrators, and other supplies were turned over to the provincial government of Oriental Mindoro, the DOH said.
Vergeire assured that the Health department is closely coordinating with other concerned agencies to mitigate the effects of the oil spill.
“This incident calls for a whole-of-government approach, and with the environment being a major determinant of the health of our people,” said Vergeire.
“Over the last few days, we have been extending support to ensure that the immediate needs of the affected communities are properly,” she added.
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