Firm pays back town ruined by ‘06 oil spill
ILOILO CITY – Guimaras fishermen will benefit from some P2.4 million in grants that the US government was giving to those who had lost their livelihood as a result of an oil spill in 2006.
Citi Foundation and Petron Foundation will finance the second phase of a mariculture livelihood program for people in Nueva Valencia in Guimaras. The town was the worst hit among the island’s five municipalities when oil spilled from the sunken MT Solar I southeast of the island on Aug. 11, 2006.
The cargo ship, chartered by Petron Corp., sank while transporting bunker fuel oil from Bataan to Zamboanga, losing more than 2.1 million liters.
Thousands of residents, mostly fishermen, were displaced.
Citi Philippines country director Sanjiv Vohra turned over a $50,000 check to Petron president Eric Recto in a ceremony at the Petron office in Manila on March 24.
“Sustaining this mariculture farm in Guimaras in partnership with Citi Philippines underscores our desire to provide a viable, long-term livelihood assistance that will directly benefit fisher folk in the province,” Recto said in a press statement.
“This will provide a more reliable source of income for them while preserving the environment.”
The corporate foundations, under the Ligtas Guimaras program, and the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center’s Aquaculture Department (Seafdec-AQD), launched the pilot phase of the mariculture farm at the Seafdec station in Nueva Valencia in July 2007.
Thirty fishermen completed training on milkfish cage culture and are now engaged in growing some 72,000 milkfish (bangus).
At the end of the pilot program, the residents harvested over 26,000 kilograms of bangus and earned nearly P2.5 million in gross sales, according to the press statement.
The second phase aims to replicate the milkfish cage culture in four other villages in Nueva Valencia and increase the number of beneficiaries.
During the ceremony, Recto presented certificates to the Department of Education in Guimaras, which would be given to those who would complete training in computer technology.
Petron is providing Internet connection to all of the province’s 17 public high schools.
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