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Bad tap water in relocation site kills girl

/ 12:03 AM September 12, 2016

BOCAUE, Bulacan—The death of a child has rallied more families in this town’s resettlement site behind a campaign for improved services in the government’s shelter program.

Three-year-old Justine Billones, a resident of a resettlement community called St. Martha Estate Homes in Barangay Batia, died from severe diarrhea on Sept. 3 after drinking what may be contaminated tap water.

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Justine died three days after St. Martha’s families discussed their water problems with Vice President Leni Robredo on Aug. 30 here. Robredo chairs the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council and had been reviewing the conditions of resettlement areas developed by the government for Metro Manila’s informal settlers.

The families had complained that their tap water should not have passed safety standards, but they were still required to pay a monthly minimum fee of P200 for water services.

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Mayor Joni Villanueva-Tugna on Saturday said the local government is investigating the water system of St. Martha, and would be meeting with the developers today.

Justine’s family used to live in Quezon City, and was relocated to St. Martha site in January 2013.

Justine’s parents said the girl was taken to the hospital because she had been suffering diarrhea attacks since Sept. 1. She died while undergoing treatment.

Justine’s 2-year-old sister, Nikky Joy, was also treated for the same ailment, and left the hospital on Friday after being confined for six days.

Nancy Billones, Justine’s mother, said doctors have concluded that contaminated water caused the diarrhea.

Billones said many of her neighbors were also taken to hospitals in Metro Manila for stomach problems after consuming tap water.

Sandra Aparil, who chairs St. Martha’s residents’ association, said a laboratory in Quezon City tested a sample of the community’s tap water, and had confirmed that the water was unsafe for drinking.

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Aparil claimed that crewmen were sent to clean up the water pipes and household water tanks of St. Martha on Sept. 5, two days after Justine died. Carmela Reyes-Estrope, Inquirer Central Luzon

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TAGS: Bulacan, Contaminated water, death, resettlement site, St. Martha Estate Homes, tap water, water
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