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Alternative jobs needed for oil spill victims

September 20, 2006

By VG Cabuag
Reporter, Business Mirror
Sept. 20, 2006

INSTEAD of providing temporary assistance to victims of the Guimaras oil spill, the Philippine government and companies responsible for the incident, such as the state-controlled Petron Corp., should give them alternative livelihoods, a nonprofit group said.

Despite immediately providing relief goods and Petron’s offers of a cash-for-work program, sourcing the community’s food supply needs has remained a problem, the Citizens’ Disaster Response Center (CDRC) said in a report.

“What the affected communities need is a program that would make certain they have an alternative livelihood, while the rehabilitation of the damaged ecosystem continues and the effects of the disaster remain felt,” the group said.

The CDRC alleged that a program implemented by Petron which paid villagers P300 a day for helping in the spill’s cleanup was riddled with corruption and further exposed the workers to health hazards.

“The project of Petron… did not resolve the people’s economic problems as it only employed a very small number of individuals who had to earn a measly amount for a week’s work, at the expense of their health,” the group said.

During its discussions with the fishermen in barangays Tando and Guiwanon, two of the most affected areas in Guimaras, the community suggested various alternative livelihoods from livestock-raising and vegetable farming to vending.

“Others were still looking into the possibility of fishing out into the sea. That is what they know best,” the report said.

Majority of Guimaras residents consider fishing as their main livelihood, although some go into farming to supplement their incomes.

Quoting government figures, the group said that 7,676 families—or an estimated 38,024 individuals, most of them fishermen—were affected by the oil spill.

Moreover, the group said that even if the community turns to livestock-raising and vegetable farming, another concern would be the animal feeds and the lack of farm lands, since the area is an island.

“Although alternative livelihoods might answer for their economic woes for a while, the main focus should be on how to deliver them from their vulnerability to disasters,” it said.

Last week, the body investigating the oil spill concluded that all of the parties involved, including government agencies, made lapses and were liable for the disaster.

The Special Board of Marine Inquiry said the captain of the sunken ship Solar 1 was responsible for the lack of adequate training for oil tankers. The same body also held Sunshine Maritime Corp., the owner of the vessel, liable for completely disregarding regulations; Petron for overloading the vessel with industrial oil; and both Maritime Industry Authority and the Philippine Coast Guard for lapses in the performance of their mandated duties.

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4 comments

  1. Ang ganda ng article.


  2. i agree on the sentiment. While things are slowly being cleaned up, it would be good that families explore alternatives rather than wait and perhaps not benefit as much with their initial livelihood later on.


  3. I have been engaged in the suppression and removal of toxic leachates and noxious odors from dumpsites, using a very simple compound based on naturally occuring elements. This compound I call zeogen which exhibits a negative polarity, can attract the positive ion content of poisonous gases and similar molecules emitted, such as hydrogen sulfide and entrap these inside the molecular sieves of zeogen.
    Should the molecular size of the hydrogen suldfide be less than 12 Anstrom, a positive reaction to to neutralize the elements can be obtained.

    You may contact me for samples. Thank you.

    Mariano L. Garcia, Jr.
    Lgao City, Albay Province


  4. Thank you for your comment Mr. Garcia. We trust that the Petron and NDCC officers who are monitoring this site contact you for further inquiries on your product.

    Mr . Garcia may be contacted at this email address: terrenezeogen@yahoo.com



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