(previous Blogger post, August 26, 2006, Saturday)

Damn Petron! Why do they keep saying that they have no responsibility whatsoever for the Guimaras oil spill? Their PR Manager and the rest of the executives deserve to be shot. Why do they always begin their statements with something like “Although the oil spill is not our fault…”, especially their promises to help in the cleanup? Do we owe them a debt of gratitude that they’re even offering to help? Utang na loob pa ng mga Pilipino sa kanila? Ang kapal ng mukha! Haven’t they heard of ‘command responsibility’? Even if you just hired a person/company to do the job, it is your responsibility to ensure that it is done properly. It is your responsibility to monitor the progress. In Petron’s case, you don’t just hire a shipping company, pay them, and just wait for them to arrive at the destination. It was reported that bad weather/rough seas caused the ship to sink. Did Petron bother to check the weather/sea conditions on the ship’s route? Is that too much to ask of them? All it probably would have taken was a phone call. And if they did, and they knew the conditions, shouldn’t they have warned the ship’s crew? Or even delayed the journey, considering that they’re carrying tons and tons of oil – a very hazardous cargo. In recent news, it turns out that the ship’s crew apparently have expired licenses. Hello, Petron! Did you even bother to check before you hired them?

Of course, the investigation is not yet over. The Coast Guard may have some culpability too. And Petron really has no DIRECT responsibility, but what makes me so mad is that they keep saying that they don’t have any responsibility whatsoever. If you really want to help, just do it! They’ve been claiming to help in the cleanup, but where is it? Why not ask other oil/energy companies if they can help, too? Swallow your pride! I’m sure other companies will be willing to help, if only for good PR. I am so proud and grateful for all ordinary citizens helping in the cleanup, especially the Guimaras residents. However, no matter how great the cleanup effort is, it almost amounts to nothing as long as that tanker remains at the bottom of the ocean. The remaining tons of oil inside it could still spill. That tanker must first be raised, then full-blast cleanup can begin. It’s just a waste of resources to do otherwise.

There are now a lot of investigations going on. The only result I care to see is to make Petron pay, and a legislation setting a uniform route for all oil tankers/ships that carry hazardous cargo – a route that passes only in open sea, bypassing protected areas, resorts, and other environmental sanctuaries. They should only enter shore areas when approaching their destination port. Same thing as soon as they leave their loading port, they should head for open sea right away. There should be no questions about its viability. It may mean more time and resources spent, but considering the risk, it’s well worth it. Who wants another oil spill disaster of this magnitude? I shudder to think of the consequences had that tanker sunk near Boracay! Or Capiz! Our province would die, since its economy is almost solely dependent on seafood.

One news feature on the Guimaras oil spill ended on this note: What took mother earth a billion years to build only took man a split second to destroy. Never were there truer words.

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