Archive for October, 2007

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Antique mangroves dying almost 2 yrs after oil spill

October 24, 2007

By Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
Inquirer, 10/23/2007

ILOILO CITY, Philippines — Mangroves continue to die on Antique province’s Semirara Island, almost two years after a massive oil spill hit there.

A survey conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) office in Western Visayas shows 895 mangrove trees in a 45.84-hectare area have died. The number of dead mangroves in Semirara is more than the 662 reported on Guimaras Island, where a massive oil spill occurred in 2006.

The Semirara survey was conducted from January 14-20, 2007, but the results were released only October 18.

(Read the rest at Antique mangroves.)

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Philippines oil tankers given conversion deadline

October 21, 2007

Agence France-Presse (via Inquirer)
Oct. 18, 2007

MANILA — All Philippine-registered ships carrying oil in local waters must have double hulls by next year or face bans, regulators ruled Thursday.

The April 23, 2008 deadline would allow the Philippines to comply with an International Maritime Organization convention and prevent maritime pollution, Maritime Industry Authority administrator Vicente Suazo said in a written order.

Failure to comply would earn operators a daily fine of P50,000 ($1,136) and a two-month suspension.

The vessels would eventually be de-listed from the Philippine registry and their operators would lose their operating license.

The Philippine Petroleum Sea Transport Association, an industry group, estimates that converting single-hull tankers with a gross weight of 5,000 tons to double-hulls would cost $12-15 million each.

The move follows last year’s sinking of a tanker in the central Philippines carrying 2.27 million liters (500,000 gallons) of oil, causing the country’s worst-ever environmental disaster.

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FOR COMPENSATION: 133,000 oil spill claimants advised to pursue Petron

October 21, 2007

By Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
Inquirer Visayas
10/21/2007

ILOILO CITY, Philippines — A nationwide alliance of fisherfolk organizations has urged around 133,000 oil spill compensation claimants, whose claims were rejected by a London-based insurance organization, to file claims against the giant oil firm Petron Corp.

The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya, National Movement of Fishers in the Philippines) said the oil spill victims seeking compensation for damages had no recourse left but to seek payments from Petron after the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund (IOPCF) rejected their claims.

“The failure of IOPCF to deliver justice and just compensation packages to victims of last year’s environmental catastrophe is one of the biggest injustices ever done to human kind. But this is not the end of the road for all Guimaras oil spill victims. We encourage them to file compensation claims at Petron’s national office in Manila…,” said Pamalakaya national chairman Fernando Hicap said in a statement.

The IOPCF, an inter-governmental organization that provides compensation to oil spill victims, said in a Sept. 24 report that it rejected the claims of 125,480 residents in Guimaras and 7,416 in Iloilo.

It said the claims were rejected because the claim forms were incomplete and a significant number were from people under the age of 18. The IOPCF also said it was improbable the oil spill affected 80 percent of the island’s population of around 154,000.

(Click Pursue Petron for the rest.)

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Carpenter’s son carves name as visual artist (Art on the oil spill)

October 21, 2007

By Ma. Diosa Labiste
Inquirer, 10/20/2007

ILOILO CITY – A carpenter’s son carved a name for himself when he won in the recent Metrobank Art and Design Excellence competition, proving to himself that he was right when he decided to become an artist despite being “poor and struggling.”

Harry Mark Gonzales, 26, won the grand prize in sculpture with his terra-cotta piece “A protest over the Guimaras oil spill.”

What he has done was a tour de force. The red clay was smeared with blackened oil that is not unlike how the bunker fuel choked the mangrove, rocks and marine life during the oil spill off Guimaras Island on Aug. 11, 2006.

The 14-inch work makes a statement on the ecological disaster through twin figures—a dying fish swimming to the bottom of the sea and woman with mouth open, as if gasping for breath on the surface of the water. It was a moving metaphor to the destruction brought by the oil spill.

“I visited the beaches of Nueva Valencia in Guimaras at the height of the oil spill. I went home and carried with me overwhelming sentiments over what I saw,” Gonzales said.

(For the rest, click Carpenter’s son.)