Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gov't needs to pursue oil explorations at sea: DOE


Gov't needs to pursue oil explorations at sea: DOE

AMID protests by some sectors, the government will continue to pursue oil exploration at sea to reduce the country’s dependence on imported fuel. This is also in line with the country’s policy called the Philippine Energy Independence.

Department of Energy Visayas Director Antonio Labios explained this to members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines during a dialogue.

Labios said several sectors have been badly affected by the rise in the price of imported fuel in the past few months.

The hardest hit is the transport sector, which consumes 35 percent of the fuel supply.

“Our dependence on oil can trigger all economic happenings and the implications of any oil crisis include high cost of production, high fares and high salary rates. So, we are doing our best to find our own energy supply,” Labios said.

He said the reason DOE is in the frontline of the oil drilling projects is that the state owns the energy resources and his agency has the mandate to issue service contracts.

In the case of oil exploration in the Cebu-Bohol Strait, Labios said Nor-Asian is the service contractor, through the Philippine Energy Contracting Ground on oil.

Lawyer Gloria Estenzo-Ramos of the Save Tañon Strait Citizens Movement questioned the oil exploration of Nor-Asian because it will allegedly destroy the environment and will displace fisherfolk in the southern towns of Sibonga and Argao.

Labios said that before a service contract is issued, the DOE checks the contractor’s records of environmental compliance in previous projects. Once a service contract is issued, the contractor must have a detailed program on the exploration activities.


On the other hand, Provincial Board Member Peter Calderon said the Province has nothing against oil exploration as long as it is environmentally compliant and concerns of the fisherfolk are addressed.

Calderon said the National Government must refrain from implementing projects that jeopardizes the livelihood of fishermen.

Meanwhile, Dr. Lemuel Aragones, a mammal scientist from Siliman University, said Tañon Strait between Cebu and Oriental Negros and the Cebu-Bohol Strait between Cebu and Bohol are equally important bodies of water for marine mammals, particularly dolphins and whales.

Aragones said Tañon Strait and Cebu-Bohol Strait are important fishing grounds. (EOB)

For Bisaya stories from Cebu. Click here.(November 16, 2008 issue)Write letter to the editor.Click here.

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