Guimaras Oil Spill Probe Begins

Tuesday, August 29, 2006
A 15-man member of the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources in the Philippines is set to begin its three-day inquiry into the Guimaras oil spill to help the government address the problem in aid of legislation, tempo.com.ph reported. According to the committee, the main purpose of the probe is to determine how to assist the government in the task of cleaning up the oil mess and its surroundings, as well as to look into how the local government unit (LGU) could immediately respond in times of similar disasters. In the process of investigation, the probe body expects to interview Petron chairman Nicasio Alcantara and Sunshine Maritime Development Corp. (owner of the sunken tanker Solar 1) president Clemente Cancio, Philippine Coast Guard Commandant Vice Admiral Arthur Gosingan and Maritime Industry Authority's (MARINA) top officials and other concerned government agencies, to shed light on the on the sinking of MT Solar 1off the coast of Guimaras on August 11. The vessel spewed out at least 350,000 liters of bunker fuel oil and was leaking almost 300 liters of oil per hour. In a statetement, Petron said it deeply regret the incident as it took responsibility in addressing the containment and recovery of the oil spill, both on land and sea, and more importantly, map out the long-term rehabilitation of the island of Guimaras. In the clean-up and rehabilitation effort, Petron made funds readily available for legitimate expenses and requests. Also, Petron deployed substantial equipment including oil skimmers, oil spill booms, dispersants and Waterborne Industry Spill Equipment (WISE) tugboats to combat the oil spill. Petron is also using Radar-Sat, a Canadian space agency, to give satellite maps of the area and to help Petron make informed and timely decisions which it is sharing with the World Wildlife Fund. The company said it is committed to restore Guimaras regardless of the cost. (Source: www.tempo.com.ph)

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