Archive for the ‘BFAR’ Category

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Guimaras marine life still struggling

November 28, 2008

By Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
11/27/2008

ILOILO CITY, Philippines — The oil sludge may not be visible anymore but scientists say the damage to marine resources of Guimaras Island has persisted two years after a massive oil spill ravaged the island.

The scientific studies showed abnormalities in the breeding and growth of mangroves, sea grass, marine animals and sea cucumbers, and attributed these mainly to the contamination of the marine environment by bunker fuel from the sunken M/T Solar I.

The studies, presented Thursday during the opening of the two-day Second National Conference on Solar I Oil Spill, showed the marine resources still suffered from stress brought by the contamination despite showing signs of recovery. (Click here for the rest.)

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Guimaras chief hopes to receive additional oil spill fund

June 24, 2008

By Maricar M. Calubiran
The News Today
June 20, 2008

Guimaras Gov. Felipe Nava said they are hoping to receive additional oil spill funds from the national government. He said, of the P800 million oil spill rehabilitation fund, only P100 million was released to the province.

Nava said a team from the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) in Manila arrived in the province last week and assessed the damage brought about by the oil spill.

As far as the governor is concerned, the releases that the national government had made was the P50 million for infrastructure, P25 million for the Department of Social Welfare and Development, P2.4 for the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and more than P4 million for the Department of Health (DOH).

However, Nava is banking on the funds released to the Department of Social Welfare and Development for its cash for work program. The department has still in hand some P100 million for the cash for work program intended for the affected areas.

In one of his visits in Iloilo City, Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya said the national government would only release funds on a case-to-case basis.

Andaya said they are not in a hurry to release any fund without any purpose. The fund should be spent only for rehabilitation purposes and not for anything else. There are proposals from different national government agencies that were disapproved because of its non-relevance.

He stressed out that the fund should not be spent for projects such as road construction which is not in any way related to the rehabilitation of the island as an aftermath of the August 11, 2006 oil spill. The project proponent should give exact and convincing reasons why they should be given funds.

One of those projects that were disapproved by the government is the “food for work” of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Office. There is no need for the government to give allocation to the “food for work” program since the affected residents already returned to their normal lives.

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Avoiding another Guimaras

March 19, 2008

By Jojo Robles
Mla. Standard Today/opinion
Mar. 19, 2008

Now that crude oil is trading at all-time record high prices in the world market, it’s easy to forget that while the oil companies have a very expensive product, they also need to ensure that its delivery is safe. Two years ago, it seemed that we learned that lesson the hard way—even if it now appears that we haven’t learned anything at all.

In the aftermath of the disastrous sinking of the M/V Solar I in August 2006 off the coast of Guimaras Island, President Arroyo instructed the Maritime Industry Authority to immediately order operators of oil tankers to use double-hull vessels when transporting their expensive—and extremely toxic—cargo. Now, when many Filipinos living away from that disaster area have forgotten the horrors of that incident, some players in the tanker contracting industry are hell-bent on stopping Marina from implementing that presidential directive, way beyond the deadline for compliance with local and international regulations.

That most of the 20 or so companies engaged in transporting 75 percent of all of the imported oil used in the Philippines are fighting the implementation of the double-hull rule is understandable, given the expense entailed in the rental of compliant ships and the refitting of their existing vessels. That doesn’t mean they should be allowed to continue using dangerous single-hull ships to ferry their cargo—unless we want a repeat of Guimaras.

For those who may have forgotten, the Petron-contracted Solar I dumped more than 2 million liters of industrial fuel oil along 200 kilometers of pristine Guimaras coastline, destroying 1,128 hectares of mangroves and the livelihood of 22,000 fishermen in what was once rich fishing grounds. While Malacañang released P20 million in calamity funds to the area’s residents, this was a mere pittance compared to the actual damage and the clean-up costs, which were estimated in the neighborhood of P400 million.

(Click Avoiding another Guimaras for the rest.)

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Fish abundance in Guimaras waters dropped 65%

December 7, 2007

By Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
The News Today,
Nov. 5, 2007

Marine scientists have recorded a 65 percent drop in fish abundance from the waters of Guimaras following last year’s massive oil spill that ravaged the island-province.

Dr. Wilfredo Campos, president of the Philippine Association of Marine Science (PAMS), said the studies conducted from two weeks after the oil spill until this year, showed the marked decline in fish abundance in the waters of Guimaras.

The findings of a research team headed by Campos was presented during the 9th National Symposium in Marine Science of the PAMS held in Iloilo City on October 24-26.

The studies showed a drop in fish density, biomass and diversity compared to the figures recorded in the same areas in 2001.

Fish density dropped from 1.5 grams per sq meter in 2001, to .8 in 2006 while biomass dropped from 26.5 g/sq m in 2001 to 9.3 in 2006. Fish diversity also was lower from 48.2 in 2001 to 35.8 in 2006.

Campos said the low figures were consistent in the 500-square-meter monitoring stations located in six sites in Barangay Tando and at the Taklong Island National Marine Reserve, both in Nueva Valencia town.

The areas are among the hardest hit by the oil spill after the M/T Solar I sank 13 nautical miles off Guimaras on Aug. 11, 2006, spilling almost 2 million liters of bunker fuel into the sea and triggering one of the country’s worst environmental disasters.

The findings scientifically validate the observations and complaints of fisherfolks and residents in affected areas that their fish catch has substantially decreased following the oil spill.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources and mangrove experts have also recorded the dying of at least 600 mature mangrove trees in Guimaras. Mangroves serve as breeding and feeding grounds of fishes.

Scientists have earlier said that the long-term and full impact of the oil spill on marine life in Guimaras would only be known after many years and would require continuous monitoring.

Campos said the oil spill could be the main reason for the drastic drop in fish volume in the affected areas. But he said they had expected that the impact on fishes would have been short-term because the mature ones could have had evaded the oil spill by swimming away from the affected areas.

“This could also be caused by other factors that we need to study further because the low figures are still there a year and a half after the oil spill,” Campos said in an interview.

He said other reasons could include, unregulated fishing, dynamite and other illegal forms of fishing.

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P20-B rehab fund for Guimaras sought

November 4, 2007

By Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
Visayas Bureau
Inquirer, 11/04/2007

ILOILO CITY, Philippines—A militant national fisherfolk alliance has urged Congress to pass a comprehensive rehabilitation law for Guimaras Island after scientists reported a massive drop in the fish supply in the waters off the province.

The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya or the National Fishers Movement of the Philippines) called on lawmakers to pass a law that would set aside P20 billion for a 10-year rehabilitation program for areas ravaged by 2.1 million liters of bunker fuel that was spilled into the waters and shoreline of Guimaras after M/T Solar I sank off the coast of the island on Aug. 11, 2006.

“We hope the Senate and the House of Representatives will take this proposal seriously. The rehabilitation of Guimaras is a matter of life and death, not only among the people of Guimaras and Iloilo, but for the entire Filipino people. The fish need and food security of the people is at stake here,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a statement.

Hicap made the call after marine scientists released results of studies that showed that fish supply in oil spill affected areas dropped by 65 percent. The drastic drop in fish supply was recorded in six monitoring sites in Guimaras from samples taken regularly during the days shortly after the oil spill and also in 2007.

(For the rest, pls. clickRehab fund.)

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Guimaras fish supply down 65%

November 3, 2007

By Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
Inquirer, 11/03/2007

ILOILO CITY—Marine scientists have recorded a 65 percent drop in fish supply from the waters of Guimaras following last year’s massive oil spill that ravaged the island-province.

Dr. Wilfredo Campos, president of the Philippine Association of Marine Science (PAMS), said the studies that were conducted starting two weeks after the oil spill in August 2006 until this year showed a marked decline in fish population in the waters of Guimaras.

The findings of a research team headed by Campos was presented during the 9th National Symposium in Marine Science of the PAMS held in Iloilo City last week.

The studies showed a drop in fish density, biomass and diversity compared to the figures recorded in the same areas in 2001.

The fish density in Guimaras waters dropped from 1.5 grams per square meter in 2001, to 0.8 g in 2006 while biomass dropped from 26.5 g per sqm in 2001 to 9.3 in 2006. The fish diversity, or the presence of different species of fish, also went down from 48.2 in 2001 to 35.8 in 2006.

(Continue reading at Guimaras fish.)

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BFAR to assess Guimaras fishery resources

August 17, 2007

David Israel Sinay
Inquirer Visayas Bureau
Aug. 14, 2007

ILOILO CITY, Philippines — The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) will assess the fishery resources of Guimaras following reports of low fish catch in the island province’s municipal waters, the agency’s Western Visayas director said recently.

Drusila Esther Ong-Bayate said fisherfolk associations in Nueva Valencia, San Lorenzo and Sibunag, which had been affected by the oil spill a year ago, informed them of the dwindling fish catch.

“We received a lot of reports of the low fish catch in Guimaras. In order to gauge and verify the information, the BFAR will conduct a municipal fisheries assessment,” said Ong-Bayate in a recent interview.

(For the rest of the story, pls. click BFAR assessment.)