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Ayala’s AC Energy files rehab plan for Iloilo oil spill-hit areas

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AROUND 270,000 liters of bunker fuel were spilled in the Iloilo Strait on July 3 after AC Energy’s power barge exploded.

AYALA-LED AC Energy, Inc. over the weekend submitted its environmental management plan to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), listing its actions in addressing the impact of the oil spill that happened in Iloilo City earlier in the month.

Around 270,000 liters of bunker fuel were spilled in the Iloilo Strait on July 3 after the energy firm’s Power Barge 102 unit exploded from a still-unknown cause.

The submission of the action plan came after the department’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) in Region 6 served the energy firm last week a notice of violation of Republic Act No. 9275, or the Clean Water Act, related to the oil spill that started in Lapuz town.

In a statement, AC Energy said its plan focuses on the completion of the oil spill cleanup works and ensuring the restoration of water quality to safe levels; monitoring of the air quality and its return to safe levels; proper collection and disposal of oil-contaminated wastes; and rehabilitation of the affected mangrove areas and fisheries.

With its various activities done to address the oil slick, “the company hopes to have demonstrated its serious commitment to do what is right for the affected communities and the environment,” it said.

On Saturday, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) also filed a complaint against AC Energy for the alleged violation of Section 107 of Republic Act 8550, or the Fisheries Code, pertaining to aquatic pollution.

The company said it has yet to receive a copy of the complaint.

“Even with the filing of this case, however, the Company undertakes and commits to continue cooperating in good faith with the PCG and the other government units and agencies to ensure that the oil spill clean-up is done properly and completed soon, and that the needs of the affected communities and groups are provided for,” it said.

AC Energy said its third-party consultant, engineering firm Aecom Philippines, Inc., is coordinating with the EMB and experts from the University of the Philippines — Visayas in implementing the environmental management plan.

The Iloilo City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office on Friday reported that about 246,000 liters of bunker oil were collected from the ongoing containment activities.

It noted that the oil slick has hit a total of 88.8 hectares of mangrove areas and 26 barangays. Further, more than 300 affected families from fishing communities were evacuated.

On Monday last week, fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) warned that the oil spill might reach the Guimaras Strait and Visayan Sea due to the wind and water currents heading north.

The group urged the company to shoulder all costs related to the cleanup and pay the affected communities for the damages that were caused. — Adam J. Ang





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