Petron: Stop the Spill!

Page - October 19, 2006
Last August, Greenpeace bore witness to a massive environmental disaster in Guimaras Strait.

A local fisherman standing ankle deep in oil spilled on the beaches near his home.

More than a month after the Philippines' biggest oil spill, the affected communities of Guimaras are still facing a desperate and uncertain future.

MV Solar 1 continues to sit in the bottom of the ocean, leaking an estimated one ton of oil every ten days. The tanker, with more than a million tons of oil still in its hold, is a ticking ecological time bomb that continues to imperil human lives and ecosystems.

The situation is extremely urgent.

For communities whose health and livelihoods were destroyed by the spill, removing the oil is a matter of survival.

But for Petron, removing the oil from the tanker is a question of money that, it seems, they would rather not guarantee.

Hence, weeks have been wasted in getting insurance agencies to cover the costs. By the looks of it, it will take several more months before decisions are formalized and the siphoning can actually begin.

Meanwhile, throughout the excruciating wait, Petron and some government agencies have been busy downplaying the spill's continuing menace.

Every day that passes means more bunker fuel leaks into the sea. Until this source of pollution is taken out, the contamination as well as the health and environmental risks remain. While the responsible parties vacillate and waste precious time over the question of money, the fate of the environment and the people of Guimaras continues to hang in the balance.

Greenpeace demands that Petron:   

  1. Speed up the process of siphoning off the oil as soon as possible by guaranteeing the expected costs;
  2. Intensify relief operations immediately;
  3. Commit to pay for the continuing clean up, rehabilitation and monitoring of the area; and
  4. Compensate the communities for the lost incomes since August 11 up to at least 1 full year after the oil has been removed from underwater.