Mangrove trees likely to die due to oil spill in Iloilo, expert says

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 6, 2020   •   650

The mangrove trees affected by the oil spill in Iloilo on Friday (July 3) might die in three months if no action is done, according to University of the Philippines Visayas Professor Dr. Rez Sadaba.

“Ang mga saplings at seedlings sensitive sila, so most likely, mamamatay iyan sila kapag natabunan ng oil spill (The saplings and seedlings are sensitive, so most likely, they will die if covered in oil spill),” he said.

Mangrove trees are known for storing more carbon compared to other trees, which is valuable in the fight against global warming.

Aside from being a breeding ground for several marine life, mangrove trees are also good defenders during storm surges and serve as effective infiltration systems for agriculture.

Over 200,000 liters of oil spilled out from a bunker fuel that exploded in Barangay Barrio Obrero, in Iloilo City. The incident has affected 25 coastal barangays and families were already evacuated.

Meanwhile, authorities already collected over 170,000 liters of oil. They also reported, no marine animals were harmed due to the incident.

Sadaba said the plant life in the area affected by the oil spill would need help unlike other fishes that can swim away once the oil reaches their smell.

To help protect the mangrove trees, Sadaba recommended using dispersants for the oil spill not to reach the shoreline.

“I doubt that they can do that within two weeks unless they apply the dispersants,” he said.

The owner of the power barge, AC Energy Philippines, deployed several of their personnel to assist authorities in the oil spill clean up. —AAC (with reports from Lalaine Moreno)

PCG sues energy company over Iloilo oil spill

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 13, 2020

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.

READ: Mangrove trees likely to die due to oil spill in Iloilo, expert says

Meanwhile, authorities continue the cleanup operation where 90% of the spilled oil was already recovered. –AAC (with reports from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Palace defends Duterte supporters backlash vs UP Visayas cheer

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 21, 2019

The Malacañang has defended the backlash of Duterte supporters against the cheer of a student group at the University of the Philippines Visayas (UP-V).

The student group, Skimmers, went viral when they performed their cheer that was focused on criticizing the government which includes the red-tagging of UP students as well as the maritime dispute in the West Philippine Sea.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the backlash, which also includes reported harassment against the involved students, was only natural.

“Siyempre natural lang iyon na mag-react, siyempre ang dating sa kanila, baka hindi sila nagbibiro (Of course it’s only natural to react, they might think they weren’t joking),” he said. “That’s a very natural reaction for the supporters of the President.”

Meanwhile, the Palace said they are not against the controversial cheer or any kind of criticisms against the government.

“But as you said, obviously they are joking. It’s a free country, they can dish out jokes, criticisms,” Panelo said.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Mysterious oil spill contaminates beaches across swathe of Brazilian coast

Robie de Guzman   •   October 8, 2019

Slick from a mysterious oil spill blighted Brazil’s beaches over the weekend, as clean-up efforts get underway.

Reports of the oil spill emerged late last month.

Brazil’s environmental agency Ibama has reported that an analysis of a vast oil spill along the country’s northeastern beaches showed that the spilled crude did not originate in the country.

Ibama said in a statement that it had been investigating the spill on several beaches in some northeastern states since Sept. 2.

The spill spans over 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) of Brazil’s northeast coast, affecting wildlife and polluting some of the postcard beaches in one of the nation’s top touristic destinations.

A wide-scale cleanup operation is underway along the coast. (Reuters)

(Production: Pablo Garcia)

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