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‘Slowpoke’ implementation of P2B for oil spill irks Escudero

September 9, 2006

By GEROME DALIPE IV

ILOILO City – House minority leader Rep. Francisco Escudero expressed disappointment on the slow-moving implementation of the P2-billion supplemental budget allocated for the affected people of Guimaras and for the rehabilitation of the ravaged areas.

Escudero visited Guimaras on Thursday to asses the situation of the affected families. He was seen along with his friend, Presidential Spokesperson Michael Defensor, distributing relief goods to the affected persons in the most-hit town of Nueva Valencia, Guimaras.

Ecudero said the House minority block submitted on August 23 a proposal to re-allocate the supplemental budget which is being deliberated in the Congress.

Ecudero said the Minority bloc believes the disaster has brought a greater challenge to Petron Corp. and the Philippine Coast Guard.

“These two are talking big for our people to grasp at the moment, especially those who are emotionally and physically damaged by the environment,” stressed Escudero.

Some 200,000 liters of bunker fuel was spilled into the Guimaras Strait when M/T Solar I sank last August 11 due to bad weather.

Petron chartered Solar I to transport its bunker fuel from Bataan province to Zamboanga. The resulting slick has damaged fishing grounds, beaches, marine reserves, and mangroves in Guimaras and portions of Iloilo City and province.

In Iloilo, 5th District Rep. Rolex Suplico shared the same view with Escudero.

“We need to communicate to those who are directly hit by this, in simple words, tell them that their government and the whole nation condole with them,” said Suplico, the House minority deputy floor leader.

On the other hand, Guimaras Rep. Edgar Espinosa reiterated his appeal for help.

“We have manifested to our citizens that extra efforts are in order so that significant and tangible steps are seen, heard and felt by our people for them to find strength in the face of this recent crisis,” Espinosa.

Also, Deputy minority leader and Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez said the minority bloc will “closely monitor the investigation regarding catastrophe and will put necessary pressure to expedite results” to punish those liable of oil spill.

Aware of the devastating effect of oil spill to both human and marine life, Iloilo’s 1st District Rep. Janette Garin has also her own way of helping.

To enable coastal towns, such as Guimbal, to be prepared and to mitigate the effects of the oil spill in Iloilo Province, Garin has initiated an oil spill orientation and came out with an oil spill advisory last August 26, 2006 at the Guimbal Gymnasium.

Garin said the orientation seeks to inform the public about the causes of oil spill, its detrimental effects on health and environment, and measures that could prevent further contamination.

Jerry Bionat, chief of the Provincial Disaster Coordinator and Dr. Rex Baleña, Ocean Scientist from the University of the Philippines were the resource speakers.

The municipality of Guimbal is the first municipality in the province of Iloilo to conduct an oil spill orientation.

(From Panay News, Sept. 9, 2006.)

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