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Villagers in oil-impacted areas are advised to wear masks and consume only safe water.

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On Tuesday, the Department of Health (DOH) warned people in the province of Oriental Mindoro who were living near an oil leak to wear the proper facial protection and to only consume water from reliable sources.

DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire stated during a media session that the process of gathering samples from the area’s numerous water sources has just begun.

The results of the tests are not yet available, the official added. “The test po na ginawa ng DENR [Department of Environment and Natural Resources] at Philippine Coast Guard para malaman ‘yung mga kemikal na nandoon sa shorelines hindi pa ho lumalabas ‘yun,” she said.

As a result, the DOH gave municipal health officers and local officials instructions on how to categorize residents as either living within 100 meters or 500 meters of the impacted region, depending on their proximity.

According to Vergeire, the local authority must provide inhabitants who live less than 100 meters from the impacted region with access to safe drinking water.

They are required to use the industrial masks we have provided; surgical masks are not permitted. She stated, “They cannot use surgical masks at all.

Elderly people and people with lung conditions who live within 100 meters of the affected area must migrate or stay with relatives who live nearby.

Prior to this, the DOH claimed that some locals living close to the oil-impacted areas had headaches and respiratory problems.

The person who had an asthma attack and was admitted to the hospital “had already recovered and was able to go home the next day,” according to Vergeire. “Yung na-admit, naka-recover siya within that day too,” she added.

In the waters off Oriental Mindoro, the tanker MT Princess Empress, carrying 800,000 gallons of industrial oil, collapsed on February 28.

In order to stop the oil spill, protect the environment, and address local residents’ health concerns, government agencies have been working together.

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