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Oil sheen sighted off northern Cebu town

August 25, 2006

By Garry Cabotaje
with Minerva B. Gerodias

CEBU CITY — The surface waters off Madridejos town in Bantayan Island in northern Cebu turned oily Thursday, raising fears that the massive oil spill in Guimaras has already reached and contaminated the Visayan seas.

Both Madridejos Mayor Lety Mancio and environmental lawyer Antonio Oposa confirmed an oil sheen that turned the seawaters off Madridejos into greasy-like liquid that glints in sunlight.

Mancio said the oily surface waters could even be spotted just 300 meters away from the shoreline of Barangay Poblacion.

Local fishermen also found bits and pieces of hardened black materials, which Mancio described as similar to dried asphalt, in a fish sanctuary known as Kapayas shoal, some three or four kilometers from the town’s shoreline.

“Manguros na lang ta ani (We will just make the sign of the cross),” was Oposa’s reaction upon learning from Mancio about the presence of oil sheen in Madridejos.

Oposa, head of the Visayan Sea Squadron and Integrated Bar of the Philippines national environmental team leader, earlier warned authorities that the oil spill in Guimaras Island will reach the Visayan Sea triangle, the major fishing ground for commercial vessels in the Visayas area.

Oil tanker Solar I sank off Guimaras Island last August 11, discharging more than 50,000 gallons of bunker fuel into the seas. Petron Corp. had ordered the bunker fuel.

Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz asked Petron to adopt measures to prevent the oil spill from spreading to the nearby Visayan Sea and Bantayan Island and other threatened areas.

(Originally published on Sunstar web site, Aug. 25, 2006. Click here for the rest of the story.)

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