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Guimaras mayor doubts NDCC declaration

October 12, 2006

By Francis Allan L. Angelo
The Guardian, Oct. 12, 2006

THE mayor of Nueva Valencia, Guimaras, the town hit hardest by the Solar 1 oil spill, refuses to believe that several areas of their municipality is already safe from toxic fumes emanating from bunker fuel owned by Petron Corp.

Mayor Diosdado Gonzaga said while most of their shorelines have been cleaned of oil sludge, the residents have yet to return to their homes.

Gonzaga also said that mangrove areas are still full of oily debris.

The mayor was reacting to the statement of National Disaster Coordinating Council spokesperson Anthony Rolando Golez Jr. that the island province is now safe from hydrogen sulfide gas emanating from spilled bunker fuel.

Gonzaga said he was surprised upon learning the statement of Golez saying they should be the first to know of such information.

“We should also know of such declaration because we are the ones who are on the ground,” he said.

Gonzaga does not believe that Guimaras is now clean because there is still a lot of oil sludge to be disposed out of the island.

“The only agency that can make such declaration is the Department of Health (DoH). Until such time that the DoH gives the go-signal, we will not allow our residents to return to their homes,” Gonzaga said.

Guimaras Governor Rahman Nava refused to comment on Golez’s pronouncement but he said only the DoH and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources can issue a clean bill of health on the contaminated areas.

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