Press Release
August 16, 2006


Noting that our country is tagged as having one of the highest incidence of oil spills, Senator Edgardo J. Angara today called for protecting our territorial waters through a proposed bill that outlines the culpability of parties causing oil spills and provides sanctions for damages to the environment.

Millions of tons of oil quietly end up in our waters every year, a result of either accidental or occupational oil pollution. The immense growth in maritime transport of oil and the increasing amount of chemicals being carried in the sea definitely cause long-term harm to our waters and our marine ecosystem, Angara said.

Angara also said that there are two international conventions which provide the system of compensation for oil spills. These are the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage also known as the 1969 Liability Convention, and the International Convention for Oil Pollution Damage. However, he said, the country does not have its own enabling legislation to prevent or minimize such oil pollution damages.

Two international conventions on liability for oil pollution were ratified by the Senate as early as 1997. These international conventions merely provide a system of compensation for oil pollution damage and for the cost of recovery measures. But the Congress has yet to ratify its own implementing legislation in pursuance to these two conventions, Angara explained.

Angara also noted that awareness in protecting international and territorial waters should rightly be an increasing national concern because it is a matter of environmental utmost urgency.

The Oil Pollution Liability and Compensation Act (OPA) of 2005 provides strict liability for oil pollution damage and ensures prompt and adequate compensation for persons who suffer such damage

In January, Angara authored a senate resolution calling for the probe of the oil spill in Semirara Island, Antique which is dangerously close to tourist spot Boracay.

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