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August 12, 2013
Cavite oil spill a repeat of Guimaras spill 7 years ago – environmentalists

“A study published in the IAMURE International Journal on Marine Ecology estimated that the damage to the affected ecosystems and the fisheries sector may last for up to two generations. Petron is claiming the situation in Cavite is under control, but coral reefs have reportedly been smothered by oil sludge, and reported fish and shellfish kills mean the oil slick has also affected the functions of marine species.” – Kalikasan PNE

Read also: Petron should fast track clean up, pay compensation for oil spill – fisherfolk group

By MARYA SALAMAT
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – Cavite Gov Jonvic Remulla has been downplaying the extent of the recent Petron oil spill in Manila Bay off the coast of Cavite, where the Danding Cojuangco-controlled oil company that caused the recent spill has an oil depot. Remulla was shown on a television news report saying that much of it had “evaporated already,” and that by tomorrow, August 13, he himself would lead in showing the public that the fish caught off the bay can be safely eaten. Asked about the effect of the oil spill to fisherfolk, Remulla belittled it saying the fisherfolk go farther out at sea to fish.

These are “irresponsible statements that can only be favorable to the company responsible for the oil spill. There are still no scientific studies saying the recent oil spill has no or little effect on fish or the fisherfolks,” Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE, told Bulatlat.com. He said that both Petron and BFAR have yet to divulge the result of their study on the effect of this latest oil spill. Bautista urged the Cavite governor to await this study or support the environmentalists’ calls for independent investigation into the impact of the oil spill on marine life.

As Cavite governor, “Remulla can do better attending to help those directly affected by the oil spill,” the environmentalist leader said. “Remulla, before speaking out, can help first the fisherfolk by directly giving them financial compensation and immediate alternative livelihood.”

“We must have a thorough study first of the impact of the oil spill. Petron must pay for the study’s expenses, as well as in the rehabilitation of the bay,” Bautista said.

Another Guimaras oil spill?

The Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) warned that based on the past record of Petron and the government in dealing with similar disasters, the environment and the people might once again be made to pay for the disaster while Petron Corporation goes scot-free.

Hidie Escader, 52, earns by making dried fish from Rosales, Cavite. She is one  of the affected by the oil spill. (By Jhun Dantes / Bulatlat.com)

Hidie Escader, 52, earns by making dried fish from Rosales, Cavite. She is one of the affected by the oil spill. (By Jhun Dantes / Bulatlat.com)

In a statement, Kalikasan PNE reminded the public that this Aug 11 is the 7th anniversary of the Guimaras oil spill.

“Exactly seven years after the worst maritime oil disaster in the Philippines caused by Petron in the province of Guimaras, the same oil giant has caused a repeat performance in Manila Bay with yet another oil spill affecting several towns in Cavite province. It’s the same story over again: fish and shellfish kills, affected coral reefs, and immediate impacts on the health and livelihood of coastal communities,” said Bautista of Kalikasan PNE.

In 2006, Petron spilled half a million liters of bunker fuel from its contracted oil tanker M/T Solar 1 in the southern coast of Guimaras, affecting marine sanctuaries and mangrove expanses in three out of five municipalities of the province and even reaching the shores of Iloilo and Negros Occidental. In 2010, it was also reported that Petron’s oil depot in Rosario, Cavite spilled some oil after its submarine pipelines were damaged during Typhoon Basyang.

In this week’s disaster, 500,000 liters of diesel were also estimated to have spilled from M/T Makisig.

“A study published in the IAMURE International Journal on Marine Ecology estimated that the damage to the affected ecosystems and the fisheries sector may last for up to two generations. Petron is claiming the situation in Cavite is under control, but coral reefs have reportedly been smothered by oil sludge, and reported fish and shellfish kills mean the oil slick has also affected the functions of marine species. These are telling of significant environmental impacts that can result in long-term effects on Manila Bay’s marine and coastal habitats, which are integral to the biodiversity and productivity of the bay and other interlinked ecosystems,” Bautista said.

Kalikasan PNE warned that as in the past oil spill, in which Petron has remained unaccountable for its “environmental crime” in Guimaras, it may be let off the hook again by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in the case of Cavite spill.

“Environmental and social justice remains elusive in the case of Petron’s oil spill in Guimaras. This had better not be the same story of DENR letting Petron run scot-free yet again when it clearly violated the Clean Water Act and various other environmental laws,” said Bautista.

Kalikasan PNE threw its support to calls for an independent investigation of the disaster, immediate compensation of affected communities, rehabilitation of the polluted environment, and the closure of the Petron oil depot in Rosario Town, Cavite to prevent future oil disasters in the area. (http://bulatlat.com)

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