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What’s with GMA’s people?

September 2, 2006

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By JA Dela Cruz

INDEED, what’s with PGMA’s people? Instead of clearing the air on the issues hounding the administration and helping her ride the storm, they seem to be outdoing each other pulling her down even more. Take the case of DOST Undersecretary Graciano Yumul Jr. who was quoted some days back as having said that the impact of the Guimaras oil spill has been blown out of proportion. Coming as it did after all known environmental and maritime experts declared the spill as the country’s worst oil disaster and just days after PGMA herself declared it as a “national emergency,” Yumul’s statement is at best gratuitous if not contemptible.

Try telling that to the displaced fisher folks who have had to make do with daily doles to keep body and soul together after their fishing grounds turned black from the spill. Try telling that to the resort owners who now have to pay off loans on newly constructed facilities and will have to look for other means of livelihood while the sea regenerates which may take five years at best. Try telling that to the mothers and their kids who have had to endure the foul air and other hazards as they help clean out the gooey black liquid sticking like leeches to the mangroves and the coral formations sticking out of the blackened waters.

Indeed, if Yumul is convinced that the oil spill is not the disaster which almost all experts and the people directly affected by it believe it is, then he should be conscripted by PGMA to lead the clean-up.

Perhaps Yumul just wanted to help divert public criticism away from his boss and other senior officials who have been trying their very best to lessen the ridicule and the outcry which have accompanied their unenthusiastic response to the emergency. Just like Petron’s top honchos who have tried to downplay the disaster’s impact and their principal responsibility as cargo owner and shipper-of-record by unduly repeating that tired and unavailing line of “moral but not legal responsibility” over the oil spill.

Administration do-gooders should be more circumspect and sensitive in their public statements. If they have nothing better to say other than gratuitously saying that everything will come out better in time then just shut up.

(Click JA Dela Cruz for the rest of the column, Sept. 2, 2006.)

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One comment

  1. Mr. Ja de la Cruz,

    Mabuhay ka, we are shocked to read the statement of Usec Yumul, saying the damage is minimal. Even refuting our report that the lenght of coastline initially affected is 220km by saying it’s just 99.6km. To think he based it on table work and “educated guess” is so insulting for people who based it on actual field survey and GIS-based mapping. He said that what we used were layman’s drawings! he should visit Guimaras personnally and look at our GIS database complete with aerial photos and COGO mapping.

    His statement is a direct insult to the sufferings of the Guimarasnons.



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