Thursday, November 30, 2006


Press Statement Published August 2006

The Central Visayas Fisherfolk Development Center Inc. an NGO established during the 80’s is asking the community affected by the massive oil spill to organize themselves and do the necessary actions in protecting their lives and ocean and make Petron, Maritime Development Corporation and government agencies accountable.

Vince Cinches, the Executive Director of FIDEC Inc. in response to the government's earlier confession that it neither has the proper machinery nor the resources to probe or raise the tanker that is causing what is to be the largest oil spill the country has ever experienced said that “It is both a disappointment and a tragedy that a country with the 4th longest coastline in the world is ill-equipped to handle a calamity affecting its seas. This is a renewed manifestation of the government's neglect of development sectors like Science and Technology, focusing its funds and energy, instead on senseless endeavors as the Oplan Bantay Laya and its so-called war on terror”.

“Furthermore, the national government has taken a feeble approach in responding to the disaster and holding the liable parties responsible for the environmental and economic damages their recklessness has caused. Instead of pressuring Petron and Sunshine Maritime Development Corporation to immediately contain and clean up the effects of the spill, and demand the immediate retrieval of SOLAR.
Relief operations must continue to help the people of Guimaras. Petron must also compensate villages for loss of their livelihood, and set up plans to give these communities long-term livelihoods. Instead of making the people in the community janitors for the oil spill. The government must also hold Petron accountable for the long-term rehabilitation of the affected marine sanctuaries, mangrove areas, reefs and coastal ecosystem The impacts of this oil spill on the environment will linger for years, even decades. The government must learn from this disaster and put in place policies that protect the marine environment and millions of Filipinos who rely on them for food and livelihood

"We share the frustration of the local government of Guimaras, the Philippine Coast Guard and Greenpeace for the blatant lethargy of the national government in the face of this 'ticking time bomb'. We condemn Petron Corporation and Sunshine Maritime Development Corporation for repeatedly ignoring international maritime restrictions in its greed for profit, and for refusing to take charge of the critical situation it has wrought. We are likewise holding the government accountable to the Filipino people for the continuing loss of livelihood and marine resources its incompetence has brought about."

He added that they will ask the Provincial Government of Cebu to include Cebu as part of the Calamity area since the spill is threatening Cebu’s already sorry marine situation and it is only a matter of days before the poision from the tanker will reach the northern waters of Cebu.
It is important that the Cebuano community should act together and mobilize the necessary resources and actions to stop the oil from reaching our waters, without easing on the culprit of the tragedy, We reiterate the demand for Petron to immediately raise the ship out of the seabed or pump out remaining oil from its tanks. Unless this is quickly dealt with, there looms the prospect of a bigger catastrophe”.

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