Arroyo set to sign Bill calling for oil spill funds

June 12, 2007

By Barbara Mae Dacanay, Bureau Chief
Gulfnews, June 11, 2007

Manila: President Gloria Arroyo has promised to sign a Bill that calls for the setting aside of funds to handle the costs of oil spills, following the country’s two worst incidents in 2005 and 2006, a senior official told Gulf News yesterday.

“The president supports the Bill that calls for the establishment of the Oil Management Fund, even if she failed to sign it earlier,” said Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita.

“The proposed Oil Pollution Compensation Act was crafted last year, but she could not act on it because she was on foreign trips most of the time,” Ermita said, adding Arroyo has promised not to veto the Bill.

“She thinks the Bill must become law. It is a very important measure especially after we suffered two of our worst ever oil spills in 2005 and 2006, which affected Guimaras and Semirara islands respectively,” Ermita added.

Arroyo has been criticised by several sectors for having not signed the Bill already. The proposed creation of the Oil Pollution Management Fund was included in the Bill after an oil spill off Guimaras Island last year.


A barge of the government-run National Power Corporation spilled more than 300,000 litres of oil off Semirara Island in Caluya, Antique in December 2005, damaging 113 hectares of mangrove and 40 kilometre of coastline.

The clean-up cost was estimated at 80 million pesos (Dh6.2 million)

An oil tanker, chartered by Petron Corporation, then spilled 1.8 million litres of bunker fuel off Guimaras Island in August 2006.

The worst oil spill in the country’s history damaged 450 hectares (1,112 acres) of mangroves, 116 hectares (287 acres) of seaweed plantations, 15.8 square kilometres of coral reef habitat, and about 220 kilometres of coastline.

The clean up cost was 250 million pesos (Dh19.6 million).


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