Guimaras folk say they’re told to cover up oil

October 18, 2006

By Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
Inquirer, Oct. 18, 2006

NUEVA VALENCIA, Guimaras – Residents hired by Petron Corp. to clean the oil sludge from the sunken tanker Solar I said they have been instructed by employees of the oil firm to cover up signs of the oil sludge from the inspection teams and visitors.

“They tell us to cover the oil-stained stones and rocks with sand when there are visitors coming,” a 54-year-old resident of the village of Tando told the Inquirer. He asked not to be identified for fear of losing his work in the clean-up operations.

However, Petron spokesperson Carlos Tan denied the allegations.

“I don’t know where this is coming from. It makes no sense for us to do that because if anyone would say that there’s still bunker fuel in a particular area, we would be forced to return and clean it again,” Tan told the Inquirer in a telephone interview.

He said even if they have declared an area cleared of oil debris, the government’s multi-agency inspection teams would give the final assessment.

The resident said the instructions came from Petron employees acting as team leaders in the clean up groups and are in charge of disbursing the payroll.

(For the full story, click Petron cover-up.)

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