Prod Nichols: “This is not the 16th Century!”

October 16, 2006

Panay News, Oct. 15, 2006

(One cannot help but be upset by the barrage of negative impressions articulated by International Oil Pollution Compensation Deputy Director Joe Nichols. Upon reading, among others, David Sinay’s October 13, 2006 Panay News article, Journalists lash at IOPC exec for downplaying oil spill, Dr. Rex Baleña, an outspoken Ilonggo ocean scientist, is obliged to react. – Ed.)

DIRECTOR Joe Nichols belittles Filipino mentality by depicting many of us including the media as some harbinger of “negative views.” How can he urge observers “not to tell lies but only think positive” about the negative?

He wants everybody to wait and imagine Oil Spill in Wonderland? We worry about people in distress, and he sounds engrossed with eco-tourism! What is wrong with asking? He himself may profess and model positivism.

Already, the community actualizes critical thinking through the free press in a healthy societal exercise, and he seems only to interrupt this process with negativism and misconstruction. Was he ill-advised? This is no longer the 16th Century!

Meanwhile, where have all the “scientists” gone? What have they been very busy about?

Face the media! The public is curious and concerned, intrigued more by pronouncements that sound confusing, conflicting, or unsettling – in fact, regrettable like some statements by Nichols.

It is desired that the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) responds fully to valid queries, and I urge Nichols to stay away from this job. Indeed, in fairness, he is not the focal issue. Particularly, for a foreigner to insinuate suppression of expression is not as insulting as alarming an advice to Filipinos.

Shall we all face the music? For instance, we have yet to be convinced by the rationale of delayed action. I thought I heard that the Guimaras incident is too smalltime a case? If so, what is taking experts from showing us how? Weather is too familiar a scapegoat, said ad infinitum, “ad nauseum.”

Time windows for field operations exist even during the typhoon seasons. Of course, this can be demonstrated. Just do not throw the blame to any one of us?

Let us liberate one another from all sorts of unnecessary suspicions. Transparency even in communication is essential to credibility. For a start, allow mediamen their job. Afterall, they were the ones who belabored, among others, to report varied information since Day 1!



  1. i wish he (mr. Nichols) can be realistic about his attempt to be positive. the way he reacts to the issue is enough to make me think that he belittles or is even disinterested in it. As much as we want to be positive, how can we be if people in power to actually DO something are taking this issue so lightly (like Mr. nichols) ?

  2. Huo nga. Bakit hindi Pinoy scientists ang nagasasalita tungkol dito? Wari ko hindi qualified ang mga scientists na pinili ng task force oil spill. Mahirap yan kon maraming politica. I agree with Lette.

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