Following Malacañang's announcement to release water from Angat Dam, Akbayan Partylist spokesperson Gio Tingson urged Malacañang to prioritize urban poor communities of clean water supply to avert disease outbreaks.

"Clean water supply should prioritize poor families in highly-populated areas. There are dangers of disease outbreaks in poor communities if this water crisis worsens and water supply continue to go to commercial and luxury areas," Gio Tingson said.

"Poor families will need the clean water to prepare for work or school. Mothers and their infants need clean water for sanitation. Interrupted supply of clean water can also adversely affect infants feeding on formula. Their basic needs should be met first with the water supply”, he added. “Do we continue unbridled operation in golf courses, water parks and other luxury establishments that could waste so much water in this time of need?” Tingson asked. 

Health experts pose alarm on dangerous diseases in areas where there is water shortage. Dengue cases could rise further in improper waste storages. Diseases like diarrhea, cholera and dysentery could spread quickly among children in poor communities when families turn to unsafe water, Akbayan Partylist cited. 

Tingson added the need for the Department of Health and local government units to conduct risk-assessment and advocacy campaign in high-risk areas to avert a possible health crisis if the water shortage continues.

"The DOH should go beyond its regular inspections. They should conduct risk assessment in urban poor communities and  educate and inform families on clean water conservation and disease prevention," Tingson urged. “DOH must act on reports of “gray” water coming out of some faucets and have some water samples tested if safe for either drinking, bathing or cooking”, Tingson said. 

"Health centers and lying in clinics should be given priority to ensure they have water 24/7 for patients. If the government fails to do this, we may be looking at a health crisis on top of the water shortage," Tingson said.###