RP receives kudos from int'l experts over handling of toxic materials in sunken vessels
Manila (21 July) -- The Philippine government received kudos from international experts over its handling of toxic materials in the sunken Princess of the Stars off Sibuyan Island.
Executive Secretary Eduardo R. Ermita said that a joint team of experts from the United Nations and the European Union noted that the efforts of the Philippine government to prevent and control a potential environment and human disaster have been successful, and that it is "on track with what they are doing to assess the situation."
The international experts arrived in the country through the efforts of the Department of Health (DOH) which has coordinated with the World Health Organization (WHO) on the possible health hazards arising from the sinking of the Princess of the Stars as part of the country's obligations to the International Health Regulations.
The DOH sub-task force on hazardous materials has instituted preventive measures that include a ban on fishing along a five-kilometer radius. Ermita explained that this is in keeping with an earlier advisory from Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on the need for such a prudent precaution.
The DOH is now looking at the acute health and nutrition effects of the fishing ban and will work with the WHO and the local communities in Sibuyan to address the health concerns.
On the other hand, health assessments on the diver to detect exposure to the harmful chemicals have also been made by the DOH and no acute signs of pesticide poisoning were found.
Together with the UN-EU team, the DOH has also coordinated with communities in Sibuyan to draw up contingency plans on preparedness, readiness, and response to hazards and risk before, during and following salvage operations which will start in August. (PIA-MMIO) [top]