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Guimaras residents hit sluggish cleanup

September 9, 2006

SOME residents in Guimaras are complaining of the slow progress of Petron Corporation’s clean-up in areas affected by the oil spill, ANC reported Saturday.

“Dapat isaalang-alang nila ‘yung kalusugan at dapat bilisan nila ito (They should think about the welfare of residents. They should expedite the cleanup),” Councilor Emilio Esmeralda of Nueva Valencia town said.

Officials in Barangay Tando, meanwhile, said oil sludge has seeped under Guimaras’ shores because of the high tide.

Barangay official Jeofrey Gandecilla said they have asked Petron to remove the oil debris but the firm has yet to act on their appeal.

The oil spill has affected not only Guimaras but also islands nearby. The spill took place August 11 after the M/T Solar 1 tanker sank off the island while sailing for Mindanao with about two million liters of bunker oil from Petron’s refinery in Bataan. The tanker was bound for Zamboanga City when it sank.

President Arroyo declared the oil spill a national calamity after it destroyed marine ecosystems and the livelihood of fishermen in Guimaras. At least two deaths have been attributed to the oil spill.

A Special Board of Marine Inquiry, meanwhile, has found that that the tanker’s captain used an expired license for the trip. The inquiry is ongoing.

(From ABS-CBN News, Sept. 9, 2006.)

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