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Guimaras readying criminal raps vs execs of Petron, Solar 1

September 14, 2006

By Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
Inquirer


ILOILO CITY – The island-province of Guimaras is readying criminal charges against officials of Petron Corp. and owners of the sunken oil tanker Solar I, which has caused the oil spill that devastated the island’s rich marine life and destroyed the livelihood of thousands of residents.

Lawyer Plaridel Nava II, provincial legal officer, said they were considering filing charges against the officials of Petron and the Sunshine Maritime Development Corp. (SDMC), which owns the tanker that sank 13.3 nautical miles southwest of Nueva Valencia town on August 11.

The officials will be held liable for violating Republic Act 9275 (Clean Water Act of 2004), Republic Act 8749 (Clean Air Act of 1999) and Republic Act 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000), he said.

Nava said the complaint will include the putting up by Petron of a temporary dumpsite for contaminated debris in San Antonio village in Nueva Valencia without the approval of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the local government. The oil firm stopped the dumping only after Guimaras officials complained, according to Nava.

Guimaras Governor JC Rahman Nava said officials are still studying the statement of the Department of Justice task force investigating the oil spill, which cleared Petron of any criminal liabilities in the sinking of the tanker and the oil spill.

The tanker sank off the central island province of Guimaras, spilling some of its cargo of two million liters (500,000 gallons) of industrial fuel oil. It is sitting on the seabed about 640 meters (2,000 feet) under water.

The spill has damaged fishing grounds and marine reserves in a region being developed as a tourist destination. The provincial government says about 26,000 people who depend on fishing have been affected.

(From INQ7.net, Sept. 13, 2006.)

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