Around 1,200 individuals were forcibly evacuated following the oil spill incident as a power barge of the National Power Corporation (Napocor) was damaged during the onslaught of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in the shoreline of Estancia, Iloilo. Napocor President Gladys Cruz Sta. Maria said that five barangays in Estancia including the worst-hit Botongan has been badly affected by the recent oil spill incident causing more residents to move out and temporary relocate due the unpleasant chemical smell occurring in the area. Sta. Maria said that their target is to force evacuate around 5,000 residents in the next couple of days since the condition in the affected areas is expected to become more hazardous due the toxic smell coming from the power barge. “It seems tataas pa ito (evacuees), we are targeting around 5,000 residents to evacuated since they are complaining to the smell from the oil spill. Some have been experiencing severe headaches and difficulty in breathing already,” Sta. Maria said. She noted that Napocor together with the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (Psalm) will handle the expenses and damages brought by the incident to livelihood of residents affected in the coastal town.
The Psalm provided a total of P 1.5 million to Iloilo while Napocor gave an initial P500,000 to the municipality of Estancia. Sta. Maria said that they already have a contingency plan. He also said that they will handle all the responsibilities over the incident together with Psalm. The Kuan Yu Global Technologies has been tapped by the Napocor and Psalm to conduct clean-up and salvaging operations on the damaged power barge. He noted that the company will hire local residents to help in the ongoing clean-up operations so that it can be an alternative source of income for them. “This will also serve as temporary livelihood for the residents particularly for the fisher folks affected by the oil spill,” Sta. Maria said. The Kuan Yu Global Technologies estimated the clean-up and salvaging operations to last in the next three months. Commander Armando Balilo, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Public Affairs chief said that around 80,000 liters of oil and some 46-tons of debris have already been collected after the clean up.
Environment Pollution in Philippines on Tuesday, 26 November, 2013 at 08:41 (08:41 AM) UTC, RSOE EDIS
Speed up oil spill cleanup in Estancia’
ILOILO — Senate President Franklin Drilon instructed the National Power Corp. (Napocor) to fast-track the cleanup of the oil spill in Estancia town and, if necessary, to shoulder the expenses for it.
The Napocor should no longer dilly-dally on the cleanup operations because of the oil spill’s hazardous effect on the health of nearby residents, Drilon said.
For now, the Department of Health’s Center for Health Development 6 has recommended the evacuation of 30 families, the center’s director, Dr. Marilyn Convocar, said.
Cmdr. Athello Ybañez, commander of the Philippine Coast Guard 6, said the Napocor-owned Power Barge 103 was dislodged from its mooring station and ran aground at the rocky shoreline of Brgy. Botongon, Estancia, at the height of super typhoon “Yolanda” on November 8.
The barge’s punctured bottom hull containing 1,200,000 liters of fuel leaked out 200,000 liters, he said.
Of the amount of oil spill, he said, 150,000 liters have been washed ashore with the 50 liters on the water surface.
Ybañez acknowledged that the immediate removal of the oil spill is a must.
But with the present progress of the Coast Guard’s Oil Spill Response Team operation that started on November 11 and with only 75 personnel hired by the Manila-based Harbor Star Salvage Company, the cleanup is estimated to be completed by end of this month or early December, he said.
As of yesterday, the cleanup team has collected only 6,000 liters of spilled oil and two tons of contaminated debris.
The barge is owned by Napocor, but, just days before the oil spill, it was sold to Salcon but not yet awarded. The two companies now seem to toss to each other the responsibility for the cleanup.
In yesterday’s briefing at the Provincial Capitol, Drilon called on Atty. Gladys Sta. Rita, president of Napocor, and gave her instructions for the immediate unloading/siphoning of the remaining liters of fuel in the barge tanks.
The Harbor Star Salvage Company also has to tow the power barge to the shipyard for repair. (PNA)