THE Davao City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) said based on the report of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), the chemical spill from the tanker that fell off a cliff has already been contained.

“Ang i-address nalang didto is paningkamutan unta sa tag-iya sa truck nga dali kining i-pull out ang chemical ug ang truck kay para makahinlo na pud ta sa lugar kung asa dapit natagak ang truck (What remains to be addressed now is for the owner of the truck to immediately pull out the truck, which still contains the chemical, so we can clean the area),” CDRRMO head Alfredo Baloran said during an interview on the Davao City Disaster Radio on August 3, 2022. The tanker is around 30 meters away from the river bank of Suawan River.

Baloran said the tanker was carrying 14,000 liters of caustic soda. It was traveling from Zamboanga City to Davao City.

Caustic soda or lye is widely used as a cleaning agent in industrial and manufacturing setups. Being high in Akali, the chemical is corrosive to animal and vegetable tissue. It is used for soap making, candle making, homemade biodiesel, frosting glass, making food, and for chemistry experiments.

The City Health Office head Dr. Ashley Lopez said in an interview with SunStar Davao that the chemical can cause problems in the throat and gastrointestinal inflammations.

Lemuel Manalo, Project Coordinator of the Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (Idis), said caustic soda in high concentration may lead to skin burns for humans especially when it’s handled without proper protective equipment.

“It’s not a friendly chemical na madaling i-tolerate ng humans (that we can easily tolerate). If you touch the water, possible na may skin burns especially doon sa concentrated areas (you could have possible skin burns especially if you are in a concentrated area),” Manalo said in an interview with SunStar Davao.

Meanwhile, Baloran said that the Marilog Police Station is still investigating the incident.

He said also swimming and fishing are still prohibited in Suawan River and tributaries of Davao River.

“Wala ta kabalo kung unsay adverse effect atong mga chemical nga niagas. Gina-priority nato ang safety sa mga tao busa dili sa nato sila i-allow while gahulat ta sa water sampling [test result] nga gi-conduct sa DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) gahapon (We do not really know what adverse effects the chemical could cause. Right now, we prioritize the safety of the people while waiting for the water sampling test result of DENR),” Baloran said. KSD