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Provincial execs voice alarm over oil spill

November 23, 2006

By Lizanilla J. Amarga
SunStar Cagayan de Oro
Nov. 23, 2006

THE Provincial Board of Misamis Oriental (Misor) voiced alarm Wednesday over the sinking of a barge carrying some 59,000 sacks of oil-soaked debris from the Guimaras Oil Spill at Plaridel, Misamis Occidental.

The barge was bound for Holcim, Inc., which is located at population-rich Lugait, Misamis Oriental, for treatment and disposal.

Misamis Occidental Governor Loreto Leo Ocampos said Provincial Board members from Misamis Occidental will approve an ordinance prohibiting sea vessels carrying toxic substances from the province’s waters.

Misamis Oriental board members will also be proposing a similar ordinance.

In an interview, committee on public safety chairman Norris Babiera, minority floor leader Alejo Butch Olano and committee on rules vice-chairman Oliver Actub voiced alarm over the incident.

Babiera said Petron “should be held accountable for any damage to our environment.”

He said while the incident can be chalked up as an accident still “extra care should had been taken.”

Babiera said the burning of the oil debris from Guimaras here in Lugait, Misamis Oriental was done without consultation or an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC).

Babiera said they would also pass an ordinance banning toxic waste from passing the Iligan-Macajalar-Gingoog Bay.

“What we have is a resolution banning nuclear-powered warships from our ports authored by me during the previous Provincial Board.”

Actub, for his part, said the debris still has oil.

Ocampos earlier said their provincial board is also going to prepare an ordinance to prohibit ships with toxic substances from entering provincial waters.

“They will not be allowed into our municipal waters,” he said.

Earlier, Petron issued a press release that it was able to already ship out some 500 metric tons of oil-soaked debris from Guimaras.

It reported how a Landing Craft Tanker with a capacity of 2,000 metric tons left the Cabalagnan Wharf in Nueva Valencia and brought the debris to Holcim Philippines’ Lugait plant in Misamis Oriental.

Once brought there, the debris will be used as an alternative fuel and raw material in cement production without compromising the quality of cement.

Petron said the high technology plant will convert the oil-covered debris into energy without producing any hazardous compounds or fumes.

“Holcim has had experience in handling, storing and co-processing of similar materials locally and globally,” its release reads.

It added that the global cement manufacturing company is committed to the safe and proper co-processing of waste without compromising the quality of its product and the environment.

Also, that Holcim’s operations are supported by its compliance with all requirements, permits and environmental regulations by government.

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