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Arroyo orders Guimaras task force to step up medical aid

September 7, 2006

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez

PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has instructed Task Force Guimaras to step up medical assistance and seal off shorelines affected by the oil slick to prevent loiterers from being exposed to health risks, her spokesman Ignacio Bunye said.

The order came amid reports that more than 700 coastal villagers exposed to the bunker fuel oil that leaked from the sunken MT Solar 1 were suffering from “oil spill-related diseases or symptoms.”

Bunye said the Department of Health was also beefing up the number of health workers attending to the medical needs of the local residents and clean-up workers.

Meanwhile, Petron Corp. said on Thursday that representatives of the International Oil Pollution Compensation (IOPC) Fund, its insurer for oil spill incidents, have started conducting workshops to facilitate the claims process on up to nearly $322 million that will be available for victims of the Guimaras oil spill.

“In line with our commitment to bring relief to the people of Guimaras as soon as possible, we have urged IOPC to immediately process the claims made by the victims of the Solar I incident,” said Nicasio Alcantara, chairman and chief executive officer of Petron.

Petron, the country’s largest oil refiner, chartered the tanker Solar I that sunk off the central Philippines island-province of Guimaras last August 11. The ill-fated vessel was contracted to transport two million liters of bunker fuel from Bataan to Zamboanga.

(For the full story, click Medical aid and Claims, Sept. 7, 2006.)

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