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Manual cleanup of oil sludge ordered stopped

September 12, 2006

By Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
Inquirer

ILOILO CITY – The Guimaras provincial government on Tuesday ordered a halt to the manual cleanup of oil sludge in coastal villages hit by the Visayas oil spill due to a lack of the specialized protective gear for workers required by the Department of Health (DoH).

Nueva Valencia Mayor Diosdado Gonzaga said Guimaras Governor JC Rahman Nava ordered 1,459 residents from 11 villages to stop doing cleanup work until Petron Corporation could provide the correct protective gear.

In a September 6 advisory, the DoH said workers should use full-face masks with air-purifying respirators, chemical-resistant clothing, including coveralls, gloves and steel-toed boots with boot covers.

At present, workers only use regular masks, rubber boots and gloves.

The DoH test results showed very high levels of toxins, particularly hydrogen sulfide, in the affected villages. Nueva Valencia is the hardest hit of four towns affected by the oil spill triggered by the August 11 sinking of the M/T Solar I, which was chartered by Petron.

(Click Manual cleanup, Sept. 12, 2006.)

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OBVIOUSLY Petron just doesn’t to spend more. After all, it’s only the little people’s lives who will be affected right? Let’s see Nick Alcantara go down there and clean up the sludge manually. Hey, another bright PR idea! (Something obviously the half-wit PR consultants of Petron have yet to think of!) Won’t that get Petron on the front pages with what its PR calls a “happy story”!

Seriously, instead of paying for protective clothing, Petron’s bright boys thought of printing yellow ‘Ligtas Guimaras’ T-shirts instead so their company logo could be advertised. Cheap is not even what I would call it. Apparently the Petron bright boys are more into political PR than real business with a social responsibility PR, to think of something as half-assed as that. Frigging…AMATEURS!

Paging Nick Alcantara! Why don’t you use that P80 million PR war chest to buy your underpaid and sick workers some honest-to-goodness protective gear, huh?

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