Not just promises

September 8, 2006

Panay News, Sept. 8, 2006

PETRON officials keep on talking about their commitment to rehabilitate the island of Guimaras, and to help the people displaced by the oil slick that has practically devastated the environment and rendered them, particularly the fisherfolk, jobless.

They have been promising the people since day one, August 11, of the incident. And the oil spill is now on its 28th day – or almost one month now since the Solar l, carrier of Petron’s bunker fuel, went down into the seabed and started spurting out poisonous oil. All that Petron has done so far is pay P300 to every laborer who cleans the beaches.

What about the hospital bills and expenses of people who suffer from poisonous fumes emanating from the oil slick? Who will indemnify the families of those who died due to poisonous oil fumes? What about the food and the needs of people rendered jobless and are being relocated? What about the damages in terms of income opportunities that have been lost as a result of the incident? What about the damages incurred by private resort owners, including their future income marred by the unfortunate incident?

So far, the officials of Petron have minutely converted their verbal promises into reality. Please don’t brag the P300 you pay daily to every worker you hire. Everything, as far as the people are concerned, remain a mirage and surreal, so to speak.

Meanwhile, as days go by and life continues, the people’s suffering is exacerbated by the poisonous air. They cannot do anything effectively to protect them from the hazard of dangerous fumes because of lack of financial resources.

Gov. Rhaman Nava is losing his patience; he feels the lack of sincerity and conscience of Petron people. The good governor cannot just allow his people to suffer the indignities and insults of a company that evades its responsibilities over the problems it caused.


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