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San Lorenzo fishers receive IOPCF compensation

December 16, 2006

By Maricar M. Calubiran
The News Today, Dec. 15, 2006

FISHERFOLK from the town of San Lorenzo started to receive on Thursday their compensation from the P22-million compensation fund of the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund (IOPCF). In the municipality of San Lorenzo alone, there are 1,339 claimants. They were the first group of fisherfolks to receive oil spill compensation.

As of Thursday afternoon, IOPCF Deputy Director/Technical Advisor Joe Nichols and Capt. Patrick Joseph, IOPCF’s claim manager were able to release about 125 checks to the claimants. The 125 claimants came from barangays M. Chavez and Suclaran.

The exact amount released to the claimants was not yet available at press time as the releasing of the checks continue to be held at the fifth floor of the Iloilo Provincial Capitol. So far, the lowest payment is P6,348 which was received by “shell gatherers.” The highest compensation was P33,888 for those operating fish pens. The releasing of checks to the claimants will continue until December 30.

The checks were received by the claimants who signed on the claims form and were processed by the IOPCF. In the case of Loreta Dalumpines, 70, she was accompanied by her relative as her husband, Roberto, who was the one who applied for the compensation claim, had recently died.

The funds were released after the IOPCF validated all the claims. The checks were then prepared through the Land Bank of the Philippines after the claimants agreed to the compensation offers of the IOPCF. No cash was released to the claimants.

Earlier, 21 resort operators also received compensationfrom the IOPCF. The compensation amounted to P369,888.

Thursday’s release of checks ran smoothly as the claimants had already prepared their identification cards to prove they were the legal claimants. Documentation was properly made by the IOPCF team. The claimants were also photographed as part of the documentation process.

Fishers from barangays Cabano, Libas, Igcawayan and Sibario are also set to receive their compensation The IOPCF will work overtime to release all the checks before yearend.

Yesterday, the claimants were accompanied by San Lorenzo Mayor Arsenio Zambarrano. It was Zambarrano and Rep. Edgar Espinosa who facilitated the claims of the fisherfolks with the IOPCF.

Zambarrano said it is his responsibility to help his constituents. He assured that not even a single centavo would go to his pocket for helping the fishers. The release of compensation, he said, will also counter the allegations made by the group of Atty. Plaridel Nava, provincial legal officer, that they have the exclusive right to process the claims.

Nava was hired by IOPCF to notarize the claims of the fisherfolks. He assisted the fishers yesterday.

The claims of San Lorenzo fishers have already approved and distributed.

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Hmmm…so we now know who to blame for facilitating the extremely minute compensation of the fishers, who have not lost only a few weeks of livelihood, but are now facing reduced incomes from lower fish catch.

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