Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Oil Spill in Guimaras

I watched ABSCBN news last night. This blog entry will try to react how they covered the oil spill in Guimaras. This is very subjective and is based on my personal assessment of the news they showed on TV. Hindi sa ako ay nagmamagaling.

Eto na:

1. As always, the coverage tried to show the impact of the oil spill in sensationalizing way. They always tried to appeal to emotions, the destruction caused by the spill, the people losing livelihoods, almost appealing/asking the people to rebel, to rise up against oil companies.

2. The payment paid to the people involved in the clean up are not always enough, as if asking, they should be paid more.

I am therefore, wondering if this method of reporting is helping alleviate the impact of the spill on the people and their livelihood (at all). Or it is trying to create more trouble, to create more news. Which leads to the question, do they really care?


I remember that in Jubail (SASREF) there was an oil spill sometime in February 2006. The reaction was immediate that after three weeks when our team (composed of three people) went to sample and assess the area for oil spill impact we had difficulty looking for evidence of the spill. We went as far as collecting fish tissue samples, and digging the substrate to get evidence that indeed there was an oil spill. And that damage had been done to the environment, and therefore compensation is due, to clean up, monitor, and rehabilitate the affected areas.

But then Saudi is an oil country, and they have to be well equipped to respond to disasters like oil spill because this is more common there than in the Philippines.


I can only compare how we react (here) on environmental disasters.

1. Our government is ill equipped to react, and we are slow to get down working to respond to disasters like this. Our media outlets are interested more in sensationalizing the news, instead of coming out with bulletins how to help people overcome the disaster. And our politicians are more interested in politics instead of passing laws on environmental accountability, and related environmental laws such as quick determination of responsibility, and requiring companies with high risk of environmental hazard to put up an environmental fund which can be accessed for environmental clean up, rehabilitation etc. etc..

2. It seemed to me that the Navy got only involved because some Japanese came here to help in the clean up.

3. Our DENR does not have equipments and QRT’s to respond to disasters like this.

4. As an ASEAN member country, we should have coordination and agreement with our neighboring countries on massive disasters especially those that have possibilities of inter-country impact such as oil spill, para naman matulungan tayo.

5. Our government approach is always to throw money over a problem as if we do not have a massive budget deficit. Bakit kaya? We should have a law, requiring mining, oil companies among others with "high potential of risk on environment" to get environmental insurance, to set up a fund etc. etc. Instead of our government throwing money much needed by the poor - over a problem created by private companies negligence.

Hay……… I will just keep my mouth (hehehe, my blog entry) shut.