Press Release
August 20, 2006

Red Cross responds to oil spill crisis in Guimaras

The Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) sent yesterday special gloves and boots that could be used in cleaning up the oil spill in Guimaras, after a tanker carrying two million liters of bunker oil sank off its central island last Saturday.

Senator and PNRC chairman Richard Gordon sent in 500 chemical boots and 1,000 pairs of rubber gloves to Guimaras, and ordered the PNRC chapter in Guimaras to provide the necessary humanitarian assistance to the population affected by the oil spill, especially the fisher folk.

This oil spill incident is an environmental catastrophe that must be contained before it spreads to other coastal areas, said Gordon. The Red Cross will do its part as a humanitarian organization, and has initially responded by sending supplies that will aid in the clean up.

As Chairman of the PNRC, He said that the Red Cross local chapters will be mobilized to help out in the area. Every possible resource available to our people should be utilized to alleviate human suffering and protect life, stated Gordon.

Gordon said that the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), Department of Tourism (DOT), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) should join hands to help in the clean-up operations. He also expressed support to the efforts of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to combat this disaster.

The oil spill, believed to take up three years to clean up, has already wreaked havoc on fishing grounds, dive spots and a national marine reserve surrounding the island.

Gordon earlier requested Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) for oil spill mitigation equipment to be used in efforts to contain the oil spill in Guimaras, recalling that as then Chairman and Administrator of SBMA, Coastal Petroleum had oil spill mitigation equipment in order to address any such occurrence that may result from their operations.

Gordon expressed grave concern over the Guimaras oil spill which has caused widespread damage to coastlines and threatens to create further havoc in the entire Western Visayas area. He thus seeks its urgent clean-up.

He emphasized that not only is the ecological balance greatly disturbed, but the source of livelihood of the many fishermen in the area is seriously affected. For the thousands of families who live on a hand-to-mouth basis from their toil in our waters, this is devastating, stressed Gordon.

Gordon declared that he would like to see to it that every possible resource is made available to address the situation with utmost urgency. We must do everything we can to mitigate the effects of this disaster in order to prevent further suffering and loss of livelihood to our people, declared Gordon.

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