Iloilo oil spill clean-up almost done — Coast Guard

CLEAN-UP operations on the oil spill from a power barge off Iloilo City is almost done, according to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Thursday. In a statement in Filipino, the PCG said they are now clearing the last 8,000 liters out of almost 259,000 liters of bunker fuel that spilt at the Iloilo Strait along the coast of Barrio Obrero in Iloilo City. The Iloilo City government, however, reported it will take another five days to clean the Mansaya Creek before displaced residents are allowed to “gradually return home.” A total of 307 families, composed of 1,120 individuals, have been affected and are currently staying in five evacuation centers. The PCG and the Marine Environmental Protection Unit of Western Visayas have been leading the recovery work and installation of spill booms following the July 3 explosion at unit 102 of the power barge owned by AC Energy, Inc. The company has contracted Harbor Star to assist in the cleaning operations. The Ayala-led company has said it is looking into the incident and will be hiring a third-party firm to investigate the cause of the explosion. The PCG is also conducting a probe. It said, “Patuloy ang imbestigasyon ng PCG hinggil sa insidente at kung kakikitaan ng kapabayaan ang may-ari ng power barge, nakahanda ang PCG na magsampa ng kaso laban dito (The investigation is ongoing, and the PCG is ready to file charges if it finds negligence on the part of the barge owner).”

Anti-trafficking team at NAIA temporarily shifts to online operations

THE OFFICES of the task force and inter-agency council against human trafficking at the country’s main gateway in Manila have been temporarily closed after four personnel tested positive for coronavirus. While the facilities undergo disinfection and all personnel are placed on 14-day quarantine, protocols to detect trafficking situations remain in effect, according to Justice Undersecretary Markk L. Perete. “Under these protocols, passengers suspected of being trafficked will still be referred to strict secondary inspection by the BI (Bureau of Immigration),” Mr. Perete told reporters via Viber. He added that the offices will continue to receive reports of trafficking situations through their hotlines and social media. All other units of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking are also operational. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas