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Breaktime : Relief moods

October 24, 2006

By Conrado R. Banal III
Inquirer, Oct. 24, 2006

LET me advise the kids – among those 3,000 or so families living in Guimaras – to stay out of the ongoing debate over the two-million-liter oil spill in the seas near their homes.

According to a report from NGOs, those families are going hungry. Thanks to the oil spill, they have lost their livelihood. Even the so-called relief goods are now getting there in trickles. There is not enough food for everybody. Thus, malnutrition among the children must be getting worse.

Prior to the oil spill, or what the media called the “worst environmental disaster” in this country – courtesy of the sunken tanker MT Solar I, which was carrying bunker fuel oil for our beloved Petron Corp. (majority-owned by the Saudi firm Aramco in partnership with our government) – about 20 out of 100 children in the area were said to be suffering from malnutrition.

Nobody dares to come up with a guess today. The figure must be somewhere up there in the stratosphere.

And so those poor people, barely surviving prior to the disaster, should better stay out of the dead-serious debate on how our government should attack this complicated issue, which is way beyond their understanding. They don’t have to wait that much longer, anyway. Judging from the leisurely pace of the resolution of the crisis – i.e., who must pay up – I would say that the debate should be over in their next life.

(For the rest of the column, click Conrad Banal.)

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