Iloilo mayor bemoans sad state of oil spill evacuees in shelters
Aileen Cerrudo • July 9, 2020 • 227
A total of 336 evacuees from the oil spill in Iloilo on July 3 are crammed in five evacuation centers with no physical distancing, limited beds, and delayed food relief.
Some of the children and the elderly had no choice but to sleep on the floor.
There were also no kitchen facilities installed in the evacuation centers.
Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas expressed his disappointment with AC Energy Corporation for handling the situation poorly.
“I am utterly disappointed sa inihanda ng kanilang kumpanya (I am utterly disappointed with what the company has prepared). They promised me they will take care of all the evacuees and yet hindi nakahanda ang ginawa nila, (they were ill-prepared),” he said during his inspection in the evacuation centers on Thursday (July 7).
The mayor said it is the company’s obligation to provide the appropriate assistance to the residents and fix their current situation.
Meanwhile, the AC Energy Corporation, the owner of the power barge that was damaged due to the explosion, still has not commented on the matter. –AAC (with reports from Lalaine Moreno)
The Philippine Coast Guard has filed a complaint against AC Energy, Inc. and its executives for the oil spill in Iloilo City last July 3.
The PCG filed the complaint at the Iloilo Provincial Prosecutor’s Office for violation of Section 107 of Republic Act 8550 or the Fisheries Code.
Based on the initial investigation of the PCG, they saw sufficient evidence to prove the negligence of the thermal energy firm.
If proven guilty, there will be an initial fine of P300,000 or up to P500,000 for damage. The company might also face suspension or closure.
“The PCG, as a law enforcement body in marine environmental protection, will ensure that the failure of one company serves as a relevant lesson to others. We need everyone’s cooperation to protect and conserve our limited marine resources,” said PCG Commandant Vice-Admiral George V. Ursabia Jr.
The Iloilo oil spill caused contamination in some coastal areas in the city and 23 affected communities. Around 400 families were displaced and marine organisms were damaged.
Evacuees in the 12 towns of Batangas have started to return to their homes after the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) lowered the alert level of the Taal Volcano from 4 to 3.
Several evacuees in Batangas City, however, opted to stay behind for fear of a major explosion of Taal.
Lilibeth Arajo, a resident from the town of Taal who is now in an evacuation in Batangas City, said they are still awaiting the final decision of the authorities to really be sure that it is indeed safe to go home.
She added that their house is on the outskirts of Taal and transportation is not easily accessible.
Another evacuee said it is not yet certain that there will be immediate livelihood or source of income for them should they go home now. — (with details from Vincent Arboleda) /mbmf
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