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Holcim says spill is coco oil

December 9, 2006

By Richel V. Umel
Lanao Correspondent
SunStar, Dec. 9, 2006

LUGAIT, Misamis Oriental – Laboratory tests conducted by a cement corporation confirmed Friday that the reddish-black liquid substance that spread across the coastal waters of this town in Misamis Oriental since Tuesday came from the coconut oil illegally disposed in Iligan Bay.

Holcim Philippines vice president for operations Bobby Sajonia said in a phone interview that though the “spill affected the mangrove project” it did not damage the mangrove plants.

“The coco oil substance cannot kill the mangrove plants in three days,” Sajonia added.

Earlier, fishers said the “spill” spread and killed several marine species within a three-kilometer area.

The community voiced alarm that its fishing livelihood will be affected.

Sajonia earlier said the sheen could not have come from the oil debris collected from the Guimaras spill, which the company converts and uses for fuel.

He said the oil spill didn’t come from their cement plant because they are not using oil and added that they already checked their vessels to see if any oil was thrown into the sea.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environment Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) conducted a separate investigation and substance analysis but no results were released as of Friday. The source of the pollution cannot be identified.

Community Environment and Natural Resources Office information officer Jonalyn Poras, who’s based in Iligan City, recalled that sometime in 2001, an oil spill killed hundreds of fishes in the coastal area of Dalipuga but no culprit was ever identified.

Iligan City, dubbed as industrial city of the south, hosts several industries like cement corporations, coco oil mills, flour and steel industries, chemical- producing industries, and oil depots.

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