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The impact of the Guimaras oil spill

September 20, 2006

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SOMETIMES, we tend to scheme over the impact of a disaster on our resources and how they affect people. Very often, it ends up as a game of numbers. Which ends up just that – statistics which are impersonal.

But yesterday, the Regional Development Council came up with the report that Guimaras fishermen are being discouraged from going out to catch fish. Most fishermen take in from one to five kilos of aquatic resources daily. Not much to go on if one considers the daily needs of ordinary folk. And many of them are now earning P300 per day after being hired by Petron to join the clean-up drive.

Several complained that they were earning as much as P1,500 daily. And they complained that what Petron is giving them is not enough for them to live by daily. And they want more.

But that’s not the point. Now, they have to buy fish from Iloilo at P90 per kilo. That certainly makes a big dent on their pocket books. I just wonder what the provincial government has been doing to alleviate their daily crisis. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo reportedly told the National Disaster Coordinating Council to ban fishermen from catching fish not because they are dangerous to eat but to allow the fish population to recover from the impact of the oil spill.

But the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources reported that the spill temporarily paralyzed fishing activities, resulting to loss of income and reduction in the average fishcatch of fishers.

(For the rest of the piece, click Visayan Daily Star, Sept. 20, 2006.)

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