Petron hit for ‘lame excuse’ on barge sinking

November 24, 2006

By Erwin Ambo S. Delilan
SunStar Bacolod,
Nov. 24, 2006

“ANOTHER stupendous insult to our people, environment and our laws!”

So said Rep. JR Nereus Acosta (1st District-Bukidnon and co-chairperson of the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) in reaction to the oil spill off the coast of Misamis Occidental after a barge carrying oil debris from Guimaras sank in the area.

In a statement, Acosta said: “The first time (August 11 oil spill off the coast of Guimaras Island), Petron said it was an accident. We said they should face liabilities. For repeated delinquency, let us now fully exercise the rule of law for crimes such as this.”

Acosta, a staunch environmentalist and reproductive health advocate, is also a mover of the Population, Health and Environment (PHE) Network, a coalition of scientists, population experts, health advocates, conservationists, community- builders and policy technicians in various government and non-government organizations.

“What do we need to see in order for us to pin down Petron? We are a nation endowed with natural resources and yet, we let private corporations like Petron destroy all of these, to the detriment of ourselves and our very own people!” he added.

Barge Ras was carrying 630 metric tons of debris in about 59,000 sacks, or about 600 tons, of debris from Guimaras when it sank 5 kilometers off Misamis Oriental reportedly due to “rough seas.”

The PHE Network proposes measures to reduce the risks from oil spill pollution.

World Wildlife Fund-Philippines, a member of the network, also raised the need to make risk-maps for coastal areas and to review current shipping routes to give new options for vessels with hazardous cargoes.

Members of PLCPD have also pushed for legislation to establish an oil spill trust fund, provide adequate disaster-response technologies, require double hulls for hazardous cargoes, and raise penalties for environmental pollution.

The UN require ships carrying hazardous cargo to shift to double hull type carriers by 2015 but local tankers have not been sold to the idea because of the additional costs it would entail.

“Aside from its standing liabilities, Petron should also answer why they employed the services of a firm that was obviously not competent,” Acosta said.


One comment

  1. I think that, from your post, everybody can realise the fact that, sometimes, money and different interests (but especially the material ones) are treated as more important than the environment, the natural world we all live in. Here, in Romania, we have a similar scandal, concerning the building of uranium exploitations in Rosia Montana, a small town of historical and environmental importance.

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