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DOH: Oil spill killed ‘Toto Pogi’

September 8, 2006

By Lory Ann B. Bilbao

DEPARTMENT of Health-Center for Health Development (CHD) Western Visayas Regional Director Lydia Depra Ramos confirmed over Aksyon Radyo Thursday that the asthma attack that caused a Guimaras boy’s death was “exacerbated because of the oil spill fumes.”

Two-year-old Alejandro De Castillo Jr. (aka “Toto Pogi”) was proclaimed dead on arrival at the Guimaras Provincial Hospital at 7:30 a.m. of August 28.

De Castillo, who was reportedly an asthmatic, lived with his parents in a hut near the shores of Naoway Island, one of the badly affected coastal areas in Guimaras.

The little boy was found having an asthma attack at 5 p.m. the same day.

After traveling for two hours and 30 minutes by sea and land, the boy reached the hospital but was proclaimed dead on arrival.

De Castillo was one of the persons with oil-spill related illnesses.

There were reportedly 707 cases in Iloilo and Guimaras. There were 677 in the latter and 30 cases in the former.

De Castillo was the first confirmed oil-spill related death.

As this developed, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Thursday ordered Task Force Guimaras to start sealing off portions of the Guimaras shoreline contaminated by the oil spill to prevent residents, particularly children and loiterers, from being exposed to possible health risks.

Arroyo also directed health authorities to step up their medical assistance to affected residents and clean-up workers as Health Secretary Francisco Duque III beefs up its medical personnel deployed to the area.

(For the full story, click Sunstar, Sept. 8, 2006.)

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