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So what happened to the Guimaras ‘fish fest’?

January 4, 2007

By Maricar M. Calubiran
The News Today, Jan. 3, 2006

THE Protection and Indemnity (P&I) Club, insurer of the ill-fated MT Solar I, is reportedly waiting for a “fish festival” in Guimaras which is aimed at helping the fisherfolk affected by the country’s worst oil spill.

The P&I Club allegedly gave funds to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) last year for the holding of the “fish festival” but no such activity was held.

Joe Nichols, Deputy Director/Technical Advisor of the Oil Pollution Compensation Fund (IOPCF) said he was told by the P&I Club that it had already given the budget to BFAR last year for the proposed “fish festival” and yet nothing has been heard about it.

Nichols, however, declined to give details on how much money the P&I had given to BFAR for the proposed festival. He said the amount was enough to hold the event and promote the sea produce of the island. IOPCF and P&I Club officials had wanted the public to buy fish and other fishery products from Guimaras again, and eventually restore the confidence of the buyers in Guimaras sea produce. IOPCF and P&I Club officials were in the island last year and wanted the bureau to immediately schedule the festival to help the Guimarasnons.

M/T Solar I sank off Guimaras waters last August 11 and spilled tons of industrial fuel oil. The oil spill in Guimaras is the worst oil spill recorded in the country. The spill affected the lives of the thousands of residents particularly the fishers, pond operators, and resort owners.

Nichols said fish and other fishery products from the waters of Guimaras have long been declared safe for consumption.

BFAR Director Drusila Esther Ong was not immediately available for comment.

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