ILOILO Provincial Capitol
04 February 2014
While rallyists were giving the P-Noy administration an earful for its ineptness in responding to supertyphoon Yolanda victims this morning, Iloilo Gov. Arthur D. Defensor hissed an earful as well on Kuan Yu Global Technologies, Inc. likewise for ineptness in cleaning up the shores of northern Iloilo from the oil spill.
“We condemn the irresponsibility and inefficiencyt of the national government and the government of Pres. P-Noy Aquino,” boomed Edgar Salarda, head of the Piston-Panay, a militant association of jeepney drivers and operators.
Some 50 persons held a rally at the gate of the Iloilo Provincial Capitol this morning, coinciding with the meeting of the Task Force Oil Spill that Defensor convened.
The meeting was attended by representatives from the DENR (environment), DOH (health), NGOs, and Kuan Yu, the last, the corporationb contracted to do the clean up by the governbment-owned Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM) Corp.
“Kuan Yu has incurred delays to the damage and prejudice of the people of (the towns of) Estancia, Batad, Concepcion and San Dionisio,” Defensor said. And pointing a finger at Kuan Yu’s Valentino G. Menpin, he adds: “I reserve the right of the Province of Iloilo to file charges on your corporation.”
Three residents of Brgy. Botongon, Estancia, worst hit by the oil spill, already died, their asthmatic bouts aggravated since the ill-fated Power Barge 103 of the National Power Corporation was slammed by Yoland’s storm surges on its rocky shore November 8, 2013. Nine houses were plowed by the vessel, killing three persons in the process.
Dr. Rex Sadaba, an oceanologist from the University of the Philippines in the Visayas (UPV) bewailed that kuan Yu’s Menpin had no time frame on the completion of the work.
“The fact that no one from the company has no idea on the duration of work shows that it has working knowledge and experience in handling their work,” notes Sadaba, also hired as consultant to the governor on the oil spill.
The rallyists identified the dead residents as Lolito Alcasa who died December 17, 2014, Donnie Trogo (Jan. 27, 2014), and Reynaldo De La Cruz. They lived beyond the 50-meter radius from the affected shoreline and were not forcibly evacuated but just the same, the fumes of benzene still contaminate their places,” noted Reylan Vergara of Karapatan-Panay.
The DOH’s regional epidemiologist Dr. Glen Alonsabe told Defensor that it is still dangerous for residents to stay within the 20-meter radius during day time, when the heat of the sun whips up benzene fumes from the dried bunker fuel.
He could not give the governor updates on the health condition of residents but sid: “
we only examined blood samples from three residents last November 8. All are positive of lead contamination.”
Defensor told Kuan Yu’s Menpin: “I want copies of your contract with PSALM, your technical work plan, and articles of incorporation.”
“We cannot give you copy of the article of incorporation because it’s a trade secret,” answered Menpin.
Defensor boomed back: “Don’t tell me that. I am a lawyer and I practiced law before entering politics; articles or incorporation are public documents.”