August 23, 2006

Jail those Petron officials!

Oil slick reaches Panay--Coast Guard
• Arroyo urged to declare W. Visayas under calamity

By Joel Guinto, Lira Dalangin-Fernandez, Maila Ager, and Veronica Uy

THE OIL slick formed by leaking fuel from a sunken tanker off Guimaras province has reached the coasts of at least two towns in Iloilo province on the nearby island of Panay as President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo formed a task force to deal with the environmental disaster two weeks after the Solar I went down August 11.

Fears that the slick could spread further and reach as far as the island municipality of Bantayan in Cebu and an Iloilo congressman urged President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to declare a state of calamity over the whole of Western Visayas even as the Philippine Coast Guard said the Petron-chartered tanker had sprung a new leak Tuesday.

The disaster is expected to cost 48 million pesos in lost marine resources and affect 2,500 fisherfolk, Senator Edgardo Angara said, breaking this down into: seaweed, 13.4 million pesos; milkfish, 20 million pesos, and municipal fisheries, 14.6 million pesos.

In Manila, the owner of a chain of hair salons has ordered all his 200 branches and franchises nationwide to collect customer’s hair after learning from international environmental group Greenpeace that human hair can prove valuable in containing the oil.

Japanese and American experts were scheduled to arrive in the country on Tuesday to help in cleanup efforts. Petron is expecting another team it is hiring to arrive within the week. (Originally published on the INQ7 web site, Aug. 23, 2006. Click blog title for rest of the story.)

TWELVE days after the oil tanker Solar I sank, leaking crude oil into the rich waters of Guimaras, Petron Corp. is still talking about bringing in another foreign team to help clean up the sludge. Or talking to this and that expert on what they should do. What were its officials doing for the last one-and-a-half weeks? Twiddling their goddamned thumbs?! These highly-paid scumbags should be out there leading the cleanup themselves with their employees! But no! They are just letting the residents in the area, environmentalists and kind-hearted citizens do the hard labor. Afraid your Hugo Boss suits would be dirtied eh?

(To those who still don't know, the Philippine National Oil Co., a Philippine government-owned and -controlled corporation is part owner of Petron, along with Saudi Aramco, while 20 percent of the company shares are owned by the public. I hope you're not one of them. Click here for the list of its officials. Start picketing their houses!)

And please! I can't stand any more of the company spokeswoman's half-assed explanations and contentions that the tanker is no longer leaking. The sludge is already spreading to Panay, another fertile ground for marine resources and possibly to Bantayan Island, north of Cebu. Time is being wasted with the Petron management just blah-blahing. Where's the real action? Even Petron Foundation has yet to speak up and offer its two cents on how to help the residents in the area cope with the loss of their livelihood.

Once the sludge is cleaned up, these Petron officials should be locked up in Bicutan with a host of hard-core criminals and the keys to their cells thrown away. They are worse than those Bicutan deadbeats because they are murdering an entire region's livelihood with their gross irresponsibility! P100 million is nothing compared to the environmental destruction and loss of livelihood the residents in those areas tainted by the sludge will have to suffer for years and years to come.

Remember Alaska and Exxon Valdez!

For more on the Oil Spill, click here and here. Read up on Petron and more of its lies.

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