Baguio addresses proliferation of unlicensed water refilling stations

BAGUIO CITY –- The committee on health and sanitation, ecology and environmental protection of the City Council is urging the executive branch of the local government to address the increasing number of water refilling stations who have no license to operate.

In its recommendation, the committee headed by Councilor Elaine Sembrano suggested forwarding of the resolution to the Mayor’s office for appropriate action in regard to the water refillers operating without a business permit.

It also directed the City Health Services Office (CHSO) to conduct an inspection of all water refilling stations operating with or without a business permit in pursuant to Resolution 86-2017 and Ordinance 41-2007.

This stemmed from a discovery of the local water quality monitoring committee under the CHSO that out of the 193 water refilling stations operating in the city, there are only 119 who have a permit to operate. The 74 others are illegally operating, thus unsure of their compliance with the health and sanitation standards.

The committee’s recommendation is to assure the safety of the residents in the city who are mostly consuming purified and mineralized water for drinking.

Sembrano said the recommendation is to make sure that those selling water consumed by the buying public have complied with the requirements for potable water safety. “I want to be sure that the water source and those we are buying are really clean and are really being processed,” she said as she talked about some enterprising people who simply seal the water containers even if they are not really purified and safe for drinking.

Sembrano added that she has written the Baguio Association of Purified and Mineral Water Refillers Inc. (BAPMWK) to seek its support in continuously checking their ranks, and report those who are illegally operating.

“I asked the organization to help us identify those who do not have permits and are not complying with sanitation standards because they can monitor themselves.”

Sembrano said that she also asked BAPMWK to tell the city government of their concerns especially if it will mean the safety of the water being sold to the public.

“We have to close those who do not have permits,” she reiterated.

City Ordinance 41-2007 specifies the guidelines for the operation of purified and mineral water refilling stations in the city, as water remains to be a priced commodity in the city, there being a limited supply and these are an alternative source for safe and potable drinking water.

Prior to the operation of water refilling station, a business permit must first be obtained which requires a sanitary permit, health certificate for the personnel, personal hygiene certificate of the workers and description of the kind of water containers.

Once issued a business permit, the establishment is continuously monitored and must always comply with the Philippine National Drinking Water Standards. LTA/