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  • Writer's pictureMenchie Kinao

Baguio to probe liability, culpability of water companies for bacterial contamination

Baguio City, Philippines - In the aftermath of a recent diarrhea outbreak, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong is taking decisive action by considering imposing sanctions against water delivery companies that tested positive for bacterial contamination.


“We will investigate the liability and culpability of these companies,” he said, as reported by the City Public Information Office.


The mayor declared the outbreak officially over on January 18, 2024, and established a "Safe Drinking Water Task Force" to address contamination from deep wells and bulk water delivery.


Acknowledging the city's return to normal diarrhea rates, Mayor Magalong stressed the need for strict measures to ensure water delivery compliance with health standards.


A post-outbreak meeting on January 19 outlined immediate actions, including random water sampling, facility inspections, and mandatory ledger maintenance by water delivery companies.


Engaging water company owners is crucial, with a consultation meeting on January 20, 2024, to gather insights and enhance safety protocols. Epidemiological investigations revealed norovirus as the probable cause, with pending test results for bacterial causes.


Contaminated water from private deep wells and bulk water delivery companies was identified as the likely transmission source. Companies with positive findings temporarily ceased operations for comprehensive clean-up, disinfection, and retesting.


To guide the public, Baguio City plans to publish a list of accredited water delivery companies, safeguarding against unregulated entities. Efforts are underway to enhance the water regulation section of the City Environment Code, adopting a Safe Water Ordinance, and strengthening water regulation committees.


The declared diarrhea outbreak on January 10, 2024, peaking from January 1 to 7, witnessed an impressive 80 percent decrease in cases from 1,620 to just 300 from January 11 to 18, attributed to swift safety measures implemented by the city.



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