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PIA Press Release

SOS evacuees can now return home

Iloilo City (31 October) -- Families affected by the MT Solar I oil spill coming from the 10 identified sites in the province of Guimaras who are staying in evacuation centers can now return to their respective homes.

This after the Task Force Solar Oil Spill (SOS) issued a memorandum yesterday lifting the evacuation order in these 10 areas.

In a press briefing, Task Force On-Site Incident Commander Secretary Rafael Coscolluela identified the 10 areas as Sitios Lusaran and Sumirib in Brgy Lapaz, Brgy. Cabalagnan, Brgy. Tando Proper, Brgy. Alegria, Brgy Igdarapdap, Brgy. Canhawan, Sitio Guisi in Brgy. Dolores, Basioa Cove and Nauway Island.

"The reports coming from our inspection teams indicate that all the areas have been cleared of the contaminated debris and Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) reading is 0.002 or lower which means we can now recommend for all the evacuees to go back to their homes', said Coscolluela.

Coscolluela said a memorandum to that effect from the Department of Health (DOH) will also follow as some local government units want to have a confirmation from the department.

As to the issuance of clean bill of health, Coscolluela said this will depend on the results of the analysis of sediments and on shell fish sent to Manila which are expected to be available next week.

He further disclosed that the Department Of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) reported that certain mangrove areas are showing signs of stress and recommended an immediate intervention which include physical clean up or other methods that will improve the chances of the mangrove to survive.

In its effort to adopt a cautious approach to avoid haphazard intervention, the Task Force has created a new team that will conduct inspection in mangrove areas.

The team is composed of the University of the Philippines in the Visayas, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Philippine Coast Guard, representatives of the local government units, PETRON and ITOF with DENR as the lead.

"The group will arrive on a specific consensus on what intervention to be implemented", Coscolluela said. (PIA) [top]

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