The families affected by the oil spill in the municipality of Cordova need more cash, according to Councilor Allan Tiro, who attended the Incident Management Team (IMT) meeting on Tuesday, September 3.
According to Tiro, Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy asked him to inform the body on the concern of the victims living along the contaminated coastlines. While he lauded 2GO Group Inc., the owner of the sunken vessel that caused the oil spill, for their cash-for-work program, he said the distressed families need more cash for their school-children.
Under 2GO’s on-going cash-for-work program, the beneficiaries would have received P200 per day but due to the suggestion to convert the P150 cash into food items, thus they only get P50 cash. Around 140 individuals have availed themselves of 2GO’s livelihood assistance. However, the total number of affected families has reached to 3,000.
Governor Hilario P. Davide III, who is the IMT commander, told Tirol that the provincial board has approved the five million peso financial assistance from the province. The cash aid, which is for disaster relief might be released this week.
The cash-for-work program of the Department of Social and Development 7 will also start within the week as soon as they receive the validated list of beneficiaries of the program from the Municipal Social Welfare and development Office.
The Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corporation, owner of the Sulpicio Express Siete that collided with MV Saint Thomas Aquinas of 2GO, has given a total of 200 sacks of rice to the affected families. The donation has been coursed through the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office.
Fishing is the main livelihood in Cordova and every household that relied on fishing was gravely affected.As of this time, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) 7 has not yet cleared the seafood in Cordova as fit for human consumption. BFAR 7 has also arranged a livelihood program for the fishermen.
Commodore William Melad, Coast Guard District Commander, said the situation in Cordova is already “more manageable” at this point. He reiterated, “Another team will take over the post crisis clean-up operation in the town in the next few days.”
From over 300 volunteers coming from the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Central Command, Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard, and the local government units, the number has been trimmed down by half.
2GO Vice President Angelito Salvio, whose company is at the forefront of the clean-up operation, said they have hired the services of Bulacan-based Genetron International Marketing to handle the clean-up operation. He said Genetron is the leading company on environmental protection, oil clean up as well as oil recycling. Genetron heads the operations as professional project manager.
The company has been working for 2GO since the coastal clean-up was started two weeks ago. Genetron sent the oil-contaminated materials that were gathered during the clean-up drive to their processing plant in Bulacan. The International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF) will continue to give technical advice to the new project team.
Melad said the reported oil in Naga City is nota cause for alarm. He said his team has not seen traces of oil spill there. He also said the oil spill that encroached the waters of Talisay City is also very minimal.
Also at the meeting, Meladsaid the tugboat containing the equipment that will siphon off the oil of the sunken vessel at Lawis Ledge in Talisay City, had already left from Japan. He said the tugboat is expected to arrive in Cebu on Sept. 6 or 7. (Xerxes Alkuino)