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PIA Press Release
2006/09/12

DOH to beef up number of health workers in Guimaras

by Rutchie Cabahug-Aguhob

Cagayan de Oro City (12 September) -- The Department of Health (DOH) will be fielding more personnel to do disease surveillance to assess and monitor the implication and effects of the oil spill in Guimaras upon the health of its people.

Thus assured Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III who said DOH doctors and nurses, together with the requisite drugs and medicines, have been pre-positioned in Guimaras to respond to the symptoms for respiratory, skin and gastro-intestinal problems that, so far, have been reported to have afflicted the people in the area.

"We are beefing up the number of health workers in there to attend to the medical needs of the local residents and clean-up workers in Guimaras," he said.

Duque was in the city for the 3rd National Staff Meeting of DOH top executives that included his Undersecretaries, Assistant Secretaries and the heads of DOH-attached agencies, such as, the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PHIC), Commission on Population (Popcom), National Nutrition Council (NNC) and the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ), nationwide.

The Health Secretary, who said he has been to Guimaras with Pres. Arroyo, together with the other members of Task Force Guimaras, for three (3) times already, assured that efforts towards rehabilitating Guimaras and the 14 towns affected by the oil spill are paying off.

The expected time within which to realize the recovery plan from the oil spill disaster is certainly going to be much shorter than what was projected.

"In general, the government efforts are unexpectedly quite effective in terms of addressing the oil spill and the reason for this is because of the very good and effective coordination among the agencies represented at the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) headed by Sec. Avelino Cruz of the Dept. of National Defense," he said.

"The Governor of Guimaras should also be credited for being on top of the local recovery efforts and for his very focused handling of the disaster," Duque also stressed.

So far, the Dept. of Environment of Natural Resources (DENR) has been coming up with very promising results in terms of testing the potable water, surface water and sea water contamination of the oil spill.

"Along with the clean up efforts, the results of the tests have tremendously improved from those taken immediately after the oil spill has transpired," he added.

"Public health is among the top priority concerns in this campaign and the government will exhaust all measures to ensure that the damage brought by the oil spill will not take its toll on the health of the local residents who have had enough of the adverse effects of the tragedy," Duque further said. (PIA 10) [top]

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