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Another press release disguised as legitimate news

December 27, 2006

Petron starts Guimaras rehab projects

By Donnabelle L. Gatdula
The Philippine Star 12/27/2006

PETRON Corp. announced that it has rolled out several projects aimed at rehabilitating eco-systems and providing alternative livelihood programs in Guimaras.

The publicly-listed oil firm said implementation of the projects started after the successful conclusion of its shoreline clean-up in the 2nd week of November.

Petron said Taskforce SOS (Solar 1 Oil Spill), a multi-agency group composed of representatives from local government units, Departments of Health, Environment and Natural Resources, Social Welfare and Development, and the Philippine Coast Guard have inspected the shoreline areas and have declared them clean.

“The completion of our clean-up operations in shoreline areas assigned to us is in line with our commitment to restore Guimaras back to normalcy as soon as possible,” Petron Foundation executive director Malu Erni said.

“With this phase finished, we can now focus our energies on restoring the island back to its original beauty and give livelihood opportunities to Guimarasnons.”

In close cooperation with government institutions such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development and Department of Trade and Industry, the Guimaras provincial government, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, as well as with the Philippine Business for Social Progress and Splash Foundation, Petron has conducted skills training for alternative livelihood opportunities including the production of resin-based items, parol-making and basic cosmetology.

An initial batch of more than 100 residents from the five towns of Guimaras took part in these initiatives.

The company has also committed to establish mangrove nurseries, fish cages, and a fish buying station in Guimaras. The rehabilitation of sea grass in the area is also included.

In partnership with the Department of Education and Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation, Petron Foundation introduced two education-related initiatives to fuel hope: the Sa Aklat Sisikat Reading program and Bright Minds Read program. Some 100 principals and teachers in Guimaras took part in these programs with the conviction that educating the children and youth represents the best way to overcome poverty, beginning with learning how to read and instilling the love of reading.

A Petron school will also be put up in Barangay Tando, Nueva Valencia.

Petron also conducted a Wiwag (coined from two German words meaning Business Week) session at the Guimaras State College.

Wiwag uses a computer-aided business simulation game to teach college students how to manage a company by enhancing their understanding of the functions and interrelations of finance, economics, human resources, research and development, production, marketing and CSR while fostering teamwork and harnessing individual creativity.

“Through our educational programs we aim to fuel hope among our youth by giving them the proper tools essential to succeed in life. We believe that education is a catalyst for lasting and meaningful change,” Erni said.

Petron also co-sponsored a two-day science conference in Iloilo wherein the country’s top environmental experts joined hands to provide a science-based, realistic and sustainable roadmap towards the rehabilitation of Guimaras.

Petron officials likewise participated in the breakout sessions and workshops on technical, medical, legal, socio-economic and health, safety and environment aspects.

“Looking beyond the bend, we hope to use the findings in the conference to add to the body of knowledge regarding oil spill effects on the eco-system and the appropriate responses; advise the decision-makers in government; and more importantly, implement them as soon as possible for the betterment of Guimaras,” Erni said.

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