Press Release
August 18, 2006


After filing Senate Resolution No. 545 in the Upper House calling for an investigation on the massive oil spill in Guimaras, Senator Bong Revilla today reiterated his call for Sunshine Maritime Development Corporation (SMDC), owner of the M/T Solar 1 and the Petron oil refiner to indemnify affected residents of Guimaras and Iloilo for causing their loss of income. These two companies should be held responsible for the massive catastrophe on our environment. Not only did the oil spill wreaked havoc on our maritime resources, it also forfeited the fishing communitys primary source of livelihood.

Revilla said it is but just for Petron and SMDC to underwrite the environmental and human damages brought about by the oil pill since it is part of their corporate social responsibility. I have filed a resolution in the senate to investigate on this matter, but my primary concern for passing the resolution is not to fix the blame but to fix the problem of having similar incidents to occur again. But of course, tracing the real culprit of the damage is also a factor to consider for the resolution. He however added that the two companies mentioned above should not wait out anymore for the results of the investigations.

Just compensation for the affected parties should be voluntarily shared by Petron and SMDC. What happened was an outrageous incident. For all they know, people of Guimaras and Iloilo can file a class suit against them. But this could be prevented if at this time, they would already owe up to sharing in the responsibilities of compensating the people heavily affected by the incident.

Revilla said they should follow what other responsible companies did in other countries which had the same catastrophe. In other countries, peoples outcries about oil spills have been so strong that oil companies have voluntarily paid for compensatory damages to the affected communities. I hope Petron doesnt wait for public outcry before they heed this call.

Revilla said aside from underwriting damages to affected people, what the Petron and the shipping company should really be liable for is the restoration and rehabilitation of the affected marine zones. The damaged areas are not merely where townsfolk get their source of livelihood, but these are protected areas which took years to develop and will again take many years to revive.

Philippine Coast Guards and other environmental groups fear that the oil spill is so big that it could dwarf the Semirara incident, a similar incident in Semirara Island in Antique last year which spilt 364, 120 liters of bunker fuel.

Revilla said authorities should seriously consider sanctioning moving or transporting of lesser oil to avoid similar incidents to occur again. We should already put a ceiling on how many liters of fuel a tanker can move from one depot to another. The Semirara and this incident showed both were carrying millions of liters of oil.

He also wants the Board of Marine Inquiry to provide restrictions to tankers and barges to go anywhere near or through any protected marine habitats. There should be a marine exclusive zone to prevent further damaging our biodiversity.

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