AN official of the Department of Health (DOH) 7 admitted yesterday the agency and local government units (LGUs), particularly the city and municipal health offices, have no teeth in regulating mineral water refilling stations.
Evangeline Canoneo, DOH 7 environmental health coordinator, said most mineral water refilling stations in Central Visayas have not complied with the revised 2007 Philippine National Standards for Drinking Water (PNSDW).
Canoneo, in yesterday's Kapihan sa PIA, admitted that while there are many laws on the need for clean and potable water, the DOH, city and municipal health offices have no power to enforce these laws against mineral water refilling stations.
Canoneo also lamented the increase of machines dispensing water in small stores since they don't know if mineral water is used and if the owners of the machines observed sanitary standards.
"It's not safe as we are exposing water to different contaminants, such as dust and smog," she said.
While the DOH has the power to issue permits to water refilling stations, city or municipal health offices are responsible for enforcing strict regulations against the establishments.
Canoneo said based on the revised PNSDW, all water refilling stations must post the results of the monthly bacteriological and physicochemical examinations conducted by the local health offices to show their customers how clean and potable their water is.
The examinations are required to ensure the refilling station's water supply is free from contaminants, such as the coliform bacteria.
Coliform bacteria can be found in human and animal waste.
If any establishment is selling mineral water contaminated with coliform, this could pose a serious health threat to consumers.
Canoneo said most water refilling stations have failed to be transparent on how clean their water is.
To strengthen the enforcement of PNSDW, Canoneo is urging local health officials to monitor water refilling stations in their areas of responsibility.