Press Release
November 21, 2013

Drilon asks Napocor to speed-up oil spill cleanup

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said today that cleanup and containment efforts of the oil spill in Estancia, Iloilo are expected to go full-scale within 48 hours, the deadline imposed by the Power Sector Assets and Liability Management (PSALM) to a private company contracted to remove the remaining fuel oil in the tanks to prevent further spillage.

"I was informed by the National Power Corp. that they had already contracted yesterday Kuan Yu Global Technologies Inc. through the Power Sector Assets and Liability Management (PSALM), for the full-scale cleanup operations in Estancia," said Drilon.

"The condition set by PSALM is for the winning bidder to mobilize within 48 hours after the award of contract. Given that, we expect that the clean-up operations will be intensified in the coming days," he added.

With the manpower and equipment for the full scale clean-up operations expected to arrive by Friday tomorrow, Drilon took the time to thank the efforts of the Napocor, the Philippine Coast Guard oil spill response personnel, and local residents, who have been already busy trying to contain the oil spill's damage.

"The P87-million contract will enable them to siphon and transfer the remaining fuel oil from the ship, as well as towing and refloating of the stranded barge, oil spill containment and clean up of the waste oil and debris, and full clean up of the affected shoreline areas, " Drilon added.

Drilon previously asked the Napocor to assume full responsibility for the event, and to fast-track the oil spill cleanup, right after his personal visit to Iloilo last week.

Power Barge 103 (PB103), owned by PSALM and operated by National Power Corp. (Napocor), was swept aground near the coastal town by strong winds and rising storm surge of super typhoon "Yolanda" on November 8.

That barge was already sold to a company, but not yet awarded. "They are passing the buck on who should pay for the expenses to make sure that the oil spill is solved. So, I told Napocor just to do it because we cannot let these legal squabbles stop solving this problem," said Drilon.

"They can deal with the other issues surrounding the oil spill later. Right now they need to act with the most urgency, since the oil spill poses a serious health and environmental hazard to the areas affected," pointed out Drilon.

Drilon said that the continued presence of the oil spill in Estancia threatens the town's well being and livelihood. "Thirty families had to be mandatorily evacuated since they were closest to the spill site - including children, the elderly, nursing mothers and those with ailments- while the remaining residents have to wear masks. These people are suffering," he said. Lastly, the Senate President said that even with the concerted efforts for the oil spill cleanup already taking shape, he will continue to closely monitor the situation.

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