Helping Guimaras heal itself thru ecotourism

August 11, 2007

Children and their parents enjoy the crystal clear waters of Binabaywan Island, San Roque, Nueva Valencia. PDI

By Ma. Diosa Labiste
Inquirer, Aug. 11, 2007

NUEVA VALENCIA, Guimaras – An ecological tour of Guimaras has been bringing visitors to the island to see how it is healing itself from the damage brought by the oil spill.

Green Forum Western Visayas, an environment-watch group, has teamed up with two fishing villages in Nueva Valencia town to offer a “restorative tour,” a day-long visit to swim, snorkel and hear stories of people getting back on their feet.

Nueva Valencia was worst hit by the oil spill after the oil tanker, MT Solar I, carrying more than two million liters of bunker fuel of Petron Corp., sank off Guimaras a year ago today. More than 3,000 families were affected. The oil spill spread to 220 kilometers of shorelines and 454 hectares of mangroves. About 50 ha of seaweed farms were also ruined.

Many families have received payments from the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund (IOPCF) and millions of pesos were released to scientists and universities for researches on oil spill. The unsightly bunker fuel that once enveloped the coasts was no longer visible, except perhaps on some far-out coves.

But the mood was far from “back-in-business” because near-shore fishing had yet to recover and villagers were still worried about getting sick from eating fish and shellfishes.

(For the rest of the story, pls. click Helping Guimaras.)


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