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Ex-worker of Petron parts with hair for Guimaras

September 2, 2006

By Vincent Cabreza

BAGUIO CITY—Writer Tina Gallardo worked for Petron Corp. as a training officer so she had access to her former superiors when the oil slick that hit the waters of Guimaras made the headlines.

Gallardo said they had no idea how they could save Guimaras’ turtles and marine life.

Inspired by stories about convicts offering their hair for the clean up effort, Gallardo returned to this city and sent out text messages to invite people to join her to shave her head.

About six people, all strangers, answered her plea and came to a local branch of David’s Salon on Thursday.

Most of them were aware of news reports that cite the high absorptive quality of hair and feathers in separating crude oil from water. But there are scientists who fear that hair could later become an environmental problem because of their slow rate of decomposition.

Gallardo said the presence of friends and strangers at her shaving-off session was a good sign.

“I hope more people would take part [in the clean-up efforts]. Guimaras needs the whole country,” she said.

Two salon stylists took only four minutes to shave her hair, which falls past her shoulders.

Gallardo managed to keep her smile for her laptop’s built-in camera, which she set up by her side to document her sacrifice.

“It took me three years to grow my hair, but it takes 10 times that to grow corals. I’ve never done this before, but I want people to know that every inch counts to save Guimaras,” she said.

“I have been there, you see. It is so beautiful and yet its people are so poor…. These are white sand areas, you know, so we have to do everything we can to help the clean up [of the oil slick],” she told Gary Buenavista, one of the people who responded to the text invitations.

(Click Hair for the entire story, Sept. 2, 2006.)

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