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Journalists lash IOPC exec for downplaying oil spill

October 13, 2006

By DAVID ISRAEL SINAY
Panay News, Oct. 12, 2006

ILOILO City – Two months since the oil spill in Guimaras began, the sunken MT Solar 1 remains at the bottom of the Guimaras Strait and continues to leak bunker oil, displacing over 40,000 residents and destroying the environment. But International Oil Pollution Compensation (IOPC) Deputy Director Joe Nichols wants the media to downplay the environmental disaster.

For this, Nichols got the ire of the media. “An oil spill is an oil spill. It is made worse by the fact that – small or big – the Petron oil spill has ravaged one of the country’s richest marine biodiverse areas and compromised the future of a promising province,” said Hazel Villa, vice chairman of National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)-Iloilo Chapter.

Nichols, in a press conference Wednesday evening at Day’s Hotel, criticized the media for its “continued reporting of negative news” rather than positive stories. “You always look for the next negative story,” he complained.

“The media have been doing its job which is to report the truth,” NUJP-Iloilo Chapter Secretary General Ma. Diosa Labiste stressed. She is also a National Board of Director of the NUJP.

“Irresponsible” was how Villa branded Nichols’ statements.

“It would be more of a negative story if journalists started accepting press releases without double-checking the content of said releases with actual site visit and interview with the victims,” said Villa, also a former Vice President for Print of the Iloilo Press Club in 200-2001.

According to Nichols, the media is fond of presenting pictures of “human blue, ecological disaster” and beaches soiled with bunker fuel.

“Media is to blame? But media only reports what it hears and sees. Petron in the first two weeks of the spill was silent,” Villa clarified.

Nichols praised Petron for its clean-up operations. He said the oil refiner’s efforts should be lauded because it is a “victim” too but helped anyway.

“I was not asking you to tell lies but think positive,” Nichols demanded.

Nichols warned the media that Guimaras may not recover from its economic and tourism losses “because you always played negative comments…(it is your) responsibility as reporters to stop carrying (negative news).”

But Iloilo City Hall Press Corps President Lydia Pendon said, “Nichols has no right to blame the media or demand only to hear positive things.”

“Only negative stories will compel concerned agencies to act,” Pendon said.

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WHERE the eff does this fricking foreigner get off in telling journalists what to do? Surely, none of them has told the IOPC how to run its affairs. What gall! This arrogant SOB should be deported back to wherever hellhole he came from!

Problem with Nichols and his ilk, especially those over at Petron, they can’t handle the truth!

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2 comments

  1. i think you were somewhat right about these things, but then again, i’m just curious, had MT Solar I under gone any international standard training some time ago before it’s recent transaction?


  2. So should I call you Jazz or Cutie? You only need to send your comments once and I will get them.

    Now about your question regarding international training, are you referring to the ship itself? the owners? or the skipper of the boat? Which international standard are you referring to?

    Can’t answer ’til I’m sure what you mean.



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