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In the interest of fair play…

August 26, 2006

STATEMENT OF PETRON CHAIRMAN & CEO NICASIO I. ALCANTARA ON THE GUIMARAS OIL SPILL (August 24, 2006)

WE at Petron, deeply regret this unfortunate incident and will take responsibility in addressing the containment and recovery of the oil spill both on land and sea, and more importantly, map out the long-term rehabilitation of the island of Guimaras and other affected areas.

We are doing everything humanly possible to assist those affected. In our effort to attend to the needs of the people immediately, we may have inadvertently set aside our equally important obligation to keep the media and the rest of the country informed of what we are doing.

Under our Ligtas Guimaras program, we have already cleared 25 kilometers of shoreline and we expect the on-shore clean-up to finish in 45 days. We are currently employing 869 people from affected communities daily and we aim to increase this number in the coming days. We have also deployed about 5% of the total workforce of Petron to participate in the work being done on the island.

In this clean-up and rehabilitation efforts, we would want to make it clear that we have made funds readily available for legitimate expenses and requests. We will continue to commit all necessary Petron resources in support of this effort. We are committed to the solution of this problem.

At sea, we have deployed substantial equipment including oil skimmers, oil spill booms, dispersants, and Waterborne Industry Spill Equipment (WISE) tugboats to combat the oil spill. We have also placed properly-equipped vessels in strategic areas to monitor the oil spill and ensure that this is contained.

As we reported yesterday (Wed., Aug. 23), we are bringing in Fukada Salvage and Marine Works. Their vessel, Shinsei Maru, is equipped with a Remote Operated Vehicle which has the capability to search the seabed down to 2,000 meters and take photos to determine the sunken ship’s exact location and condition. We expect the vessel to arrive before the end of the week and begin its work immediately. This will dictate our next course of action.

We are also in touch with environmental experts from U.P. Visayas, Siliman University and the World Wildlife Fund to develop a long-term rehabilitation plan.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all those groups and individuals who have sent their assistance to the province of Guimaras.

In closing, I would like to assure the people of Guimaras that we will be there and do whatever it takes to clean-up and rehabilitate the strait and island of Guimaras and other affected areas.

Maraming salamat!

(From the Petron web site http://www.petron.com)
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NO, Nick, it wasn’t because you were so involved in the clean-up efforts that you forgot to inform the media what you were doing. In fact, if it weren’t for the media, the public wouldn’t have known how badly your company has managed this crisis. Hell! you even told the PSE that you had “no obligation” to pay for the clean-up and rehabilitation of the area, not to mention, offer any economic aid! (Click here for the story.) Sino ba ang niloloko mo ha?

Anyway, thank you for the inspiring insipid speech.

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