Bleak future for children of Guimaras oil spill victims

November 4, 2006

By Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
Inquirer, Nov. 03, 2006

GUIMARAS – The eldest of seven siblings, 15-year-old Jelly Gandecilla had dreams of finishing school, finding a job and helping her siblings finish their education.

But like many children of Nueva Valencia town, Jelly has to confront the painful reality that her dreams may no longer be possible, after a massive oil spill dislocated their family and destroyed their livelihood.

Jelly’s family has been staying at the Cabalagnan Elementary School after they were forced to leave their home in the subvillage of Unisanin in the island-village of Guiwanon.

The island’s coastline was contaminated with toxic fumes from the bunker fuel that spilled out from the sunken tanker Solar I. The village’s groundwater was also unsafe for drinking.

When interviewed by a multi-agency team that was conducting an assessment on the impact of the oil spill, Jelly broke down and said her father had told her that she and her 11-year-old sister Jerlyn would not be able to continue going to school next year because of financial difficulties.

The two children are among those severely hit by the oil spill that has created a huge impact on families of fisherfolk and shell-gatherers.

(For the full story, click Bleak future.)


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