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Petron: No turning back on Guimaras aid; Nick’s nephew asks colleagues for aid

September 9, 2006

By JUM BALEA

PETRON Corporation said Saturday the company will not renege on its commitment to clean up Guimaras and provide help to residents affected by the oil spill from the sunken M/T Solar 1.

” ‘Yung assistance namin walang deadline (Our assistance has no deadline),” Petron spokeswoman Virginia Ruivivar said at the weekly Kapihan sa Sulo news forum in Quezon City.

Her statement came following complaints that Petron has neglected to clear oil waste collected from the island’s shores.

Ruivivar said rainy weather has hampered clean-up operations.

She added that Petron remains true to its mission of cleaning up the island and restoring its beauty and the livelihood of residents. The island is a fishing community.

Petron has been funding a cash-for-work program in the villages of Nueva Valencia, San Lorenzo, Sibunag and Jordan after the tanker sank on August 11. Petron had chartered the tanker to haul bunker oil to Mindanao.

Ruivivar said about 1,600 people are under the program supervised by the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Each resident earns P300 for eight hours of gathering sludge from the shoreline.

She said the program will continue until residents can return to their normal sources of livelihood. She added that a cleanup of mangrove plantations and the replanting of seedlings has been set for the second phase of the cleanup.

In Alabel, Sarangani, Governor Miguel Dominguez has certified urgent his request to the Provincial Board (PB) to appropriate P100,000 for Guimaras province.

“Helping the affected constituents of the island is paramount and pressing consideration, as time is of the essence,” said Dominguez in his letter to the SP Wednesday.

“(Sarangani) province feels compassion for the victims hence would like to extend financial assistance,” the governor said.

Dominguez pointed out that Sarangani’s calamity fund was “still sufficient to answer our needs should there be untoward incidents in the future.”

Members of the PB would most likely adopt a resolution in their regular session and pass it unanimously, said Provincial Board member Benedicto Ruiz.

(For the full stories, click ABS-CBN News and Sunstar, Sept. 9, 2006.)

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I’VE met Gov. Migs. All I can say is he’s cute and a nice guy. Probably his heart is in the right place. But best way he can help Guimaras right now is to tell his Uncle Nick (Alcantara, Petron chairman; Migs’ parents are Presidential Adviser for Mindanao Paul Dominguez and Rosie Alcantara) to stop trying to bribe the media just to contain news coverage on the issue.

The supposed P80 million PR budget Petron has allocated to try to get Iloilo reporters to tone down their stories and have newsdesks in Manila kill the adverse stories on Petron, can be put to better use by salvaging the still-leaking Solar I tanker and getting it out of the Guimaras Strait pronto!

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