Monday, August 28, 2006

Oil Spill

Circular No. 163/15/2006

Protocol No. 5624/2006
August 28, 2006

To: The Clergy of the Archdiocese and the Parish Pastoral Councils

Nueva Valencia, Guimaras, is the center of social concern not only of Iloilo Province but also of the entire Philippines, because of the sinking of Solar I ship that was carrying more than 500,000 gallons (2,720,000 liters) of bunker oil of Petron. It has sank to some 600 (?) meters deep under the ocean, several kilometers off Nueva Valencia. More than 200,000 liters have been poured into the sea causing almost unimaginable damage to environment and fisherfolks.

So far, as of August 20, 2006 the affected barangays are the following:


Barangays Affected Registered Fisherfolks Additional as of 20-Aug, 2006 TOTAL
1. La Paz 298 2 300
2. San Roque 79 121 200
3. Dolores 62 27 89
4. Tando 104 136 240
5. Lucmayan 41 180 221
6. Cabalagnan 41 41 82
7. Panobolon 116 37 153
8. Canhawan 46 41 87
9. Igdarapdap (Lanipe) 73 32 105
10. San Antonio (Calaya) 85 5 90
11. Guiwanon 96 47 143

The most heavily damaged is barangay La Paz. Fr. Maloney Gotera, V.F., some priests of the Vicariate of St. Bartholomew and I saw some of the affected areas. Fisher folks were scraping the shore of oily sand and putting them in sacks. Hundreds of sacks of oily sand have been piled. Sand, stones, wood, seaweeds and mangroves have been irretrievably blackened by the tanker oil. They need truckloads of palay stalks or “uhot” to help absorb the oil.

The causes of this tragedy need to be fully and honestly investigated in order that justice may be served.

Various individuals, groups and institutions have started to generously respond to this grave social and environmental destruction which may take years to rehabilitate.

For our part in the Archdiocese of Jaro, let the response coming from our parishes be coordinated by our Diocesan Social Action Center (JASAC) and our Jaro Archdiocesan Pastoral Secretariat (JAPS). As one “Body of Christ,” the tragedy suffered by one part is felt too by the entire body. Please, coordinate your help with JASAC and JAPS. – We cannot be responsible for the refloating of Solar I or for the siphoning of the oil from the sunken Solar I; but we can reach out immediately to the families of the affected barangays in terms of material help, because they have lost their livelihood in the sea. Let us be in solidarity with them through whatever organized help we can extend to them.

Sincerely yours,

Archbishop of Jaro