MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – After the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) confirmed on Monday, August 12, that the Manila Bay oil spill was caused by a leaking submerged pipeline owned by Petron, the oil company took responsibility and apologized for the incident.
“At this stage, we take responsibility for this unfortunate incident. We sincerely apologize and assure all the communities affected that we will strive to resolve the situation at the soonest possible time,” Petron president Lubin Nepomuceno said in a statement.
He gave assurances that Petron will “pursue proper remediation and cleanup of the areas affected, aiming to restore the means of livelihood of the local communities. In the meantime, we will continue to give the assistance needed by residents affected by the spill.”
Because of the leak, 500,000 liters of diesel oil spread to coastal villages in the towns of Rosario, Tanza, and Naic in Cavite. Rosario mayor Jose Ricafrente said the incident temporarily left 40,000 residents dependent on the region’s fishing industry out of work.
According to PCG, Petron must pay for clean-up operations while individuals may face criminal charges if their negligence or deliberate action is proven to have caused the spill.
PCG spokesperson Armand Balilo said the leak was discovered by coast guard divers on Sunday. They also searched the Petron-commissioned oil tanker M/T Makisig, another suspected source of the spill.
Petron previously said in a statement that its pipelines were intact and had no leaks.
Fisherfolk alliance Pamalakaya is calling for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and other government agencies to stop the operation of the Petron oil depot in Rosario, Cavite, in order to prevent future leaks. – Rappler.com