April 13, 2024

Even if diarrhea cases had gone back to normal levels, the city government through the City Health Services Office is maintaining its advisory for food establishments and households to use only treated or boiled water as the city works out stringent water safety measures for deep wells and water delivery companies to follow.

“We have adopted an action plan and are currently implementing measures to address the cause and source of the contamination and to avoid a repeat of the incident. In the meantime, we are seeking the cooperation of our businessmen and our households to maintain a status quo on the general preventive measures that we have implemented,” Mayor Benjamin Magalong said.

The mayor said the use of purified or distilled water should be maintained along with the observance of good hand hygiene and other minimum public health standards as continuing precautions for residents and visitors.

“As responsible food servers, our food establishments have to always ensure the utmost safety of their customers and as we are expecting an influx of visitors for the Baguio Flower Festival celebration, keeping to the food safety standard might become a challenge for them but we trust that they will abide by these safety precautions because if not, it is their own businesses that will also suffer,” the mayor said.

After lifting the diarrhea outbreak status last Jan. 18 eight days after its declaration last Jan. 10, the mayor formed the Safe Drinking Water Task Force to implement immediate measures to address the source of contamination which is the unsafe water coming from deep wells and bulk water delivery companies.

The measures include the conduct of random testing of water trucks, inspection and re-inspection of water delivery facilities, imposition of requirements such as standard ledgers for customers and proper personal protection equipment (PPEs) and uniforms for employees, publication of legitimate water delivery companies as a safeguard against the colorum ones and strengthening of monitoring.

The city will also consolidate the existing committees relating to water regulations and reconvene the Local Drinking Water Quality Management Committee.

Efforts had also been started to improve the water regulation section of the City Environment Code and adopt a Safe Water Ordinance in coordination with city council committee on health and sanitation chair Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda. 

The diarrhea outbreak was declared on Jan. 10 after a surge in cases started on Dec. 26, and peaked on Jan 1 to 7.

After safety measures were adopted by the city, the downtrend in cases which started on Jan. 8 was sustained with an 80 percent decrease or from a total of 1,620 cases to just 300 cases in the past seven days from Jan. 11 to 18. – Aileen P. Refuerzo