A little more time – Petron

October 23, 2006

PETRON officials yesterday appealed for the public’s understanding and patience as they are doing their best to restore the island of Guimaras that was damaged by the oil spill when the tanker it chartered sank.

Felimon Antiporta, Petron’s vice president, said they already cleaned the shoreline of nine barangays; out of 14 barangays, only five are still undergoing massive restoration.

The cleaned areas have been duly certified by a team composed of the DENR, DOH, Regional Development Council, the local government in Guimaras and Petron.

Antiporta said that aside from the residents they employed to help in the cleanup are 145 employees of Petron who work daily.

“We know that there is still much work to be done and that we are doing everything to satisfy the public. But we need their understanding because we cannot make miracles.

We promise, however, that we will not leave the place until it is fully cleaned and restored,” Ms. Malu Erni, executive director of Petron, told radio and television audience yesterday over Reklamo Publiko program at Sarabia Manor Hotel and Convention Center, Iloilo City.

Hosted by Danny Fajardo, other guests of the program were Willy Toledo, general manager of the Technical Services Department; and Rolando Salonga, operations manager.

It has been 65 days already since the Solar l tanker sank, 650 meters down into the ocean floor off Guimaras Strait on August 11.

Owned by Sunshine Maritime Shipping Corp., the tanker carried 2.1 million liters of bunker fuel from the Bataan plant of Petron, spurting them out into Guimaras’ shorelines.

Antiporta said their company already spent more than P100 Million for the cleaning activities, including gasoline/diesel expenses, dispersants, salaries, hauling, food, medicines, etc.

According to Salonga, they are meticulous in the cleaning because the inspection team is also strict, and to avoid public criticism.

Toledo likewise allayed fears that in the transport of the gathered debris, there might be mishandling, resulting to more environmental harm.

“Everything is taken cared of to avoid spoilage and wastage along the way to our destination in Mindoro where the gathered sludge is being processed into asphalt cement,” he said.

Antiporta assured the public that the International Oil Pollution Commission would do the re-floating of the sunken vessel in the next few months when the weather would be cooperative.

“Claims of affected residents are also being processed now by Stevens Adjusters and in due time they would be compensated,” he pointed out. (Press release, Panay News, Oct. 22, 2006)

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