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Master plan for oil spill response mapped out

November 28, 2006

By Blanche Rivera
Inquirer, Nov. 28, 2006

ILOILO CITY – The Philippines’ National Oil Spill Contingency Plan would need “major innovations” to address adequately future massive oil spills, scientists and environmental experts said.

One hundred ten experts who gathered here for the Scientific Conference on Guimaras on Tuesday agreed that the use of chemical dispersants should be disallowed as an immediate response to an oil spill.

Jose Lorenzo Tan, president of the local branch of the Swiss-based World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF-Philippines), said one of the suggestions in the conference was to remove the authority of the Philippine Coast Guard commander on site to use dispersants to contain an oil spill.

“In this conference, clearly in every single area – corals, mangrove, sea grass – the consistent and unanimous statement is that dispersants are not to be used in any nursing, spawning, life-sustaining habitat. That was very clear,” Tan said in a press conference at the Grand Hotel Tuesday.

The Scientific Conference – where 43 papers were presented, 101 experts broke into scientific workshops and over 180 stakeholders attended – sought to integrate all the assessment reports, including those made by Silliman University, University of the Philippines-Visayas, Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources on the impact of the August 11 oil spill that damaged much of Guimaras’ marine ecosystem.

(For the full story, click Master plan.)

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