FB photos send off alarm vs oil exploration in Alegria
A suspected oil spill southwest of Cebu has led to a barrage of Facebook posts calling the attention of environment officials to the operations of a mining firm in the southwestern town of Alegria, Cebu.
Photos posted by Erik Ybas, an Alegria resident who works as an environmental officer in the neighboring town of Malabuyoc, showed what he believed to be an oil spill at Lumpan Lake in Barangay Montpeller, Alegria.
Ybas, who works at the Malabuyoc Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO), is also the former tourism officer of Alegria.
“I shall secure concerned citizens and witnesses until (Environment Secretary) Gina Lopez will conduct an investigation,” Ybas told Cebu Daily News in a Facebook chat.
Ybas said he will write a letter to Lopez, a staunch anti-mining advocate, to investigate the operations of China International Petroleum Co. Limited (CIMP) which has been doing oil explorations in Alegria since 2014.
The photos posted by Ybas on his FB account, Monday night drew the attention of several Alegria residents who, he said, started to send him messages to convey their fears and dismay.
“This toxic contamination will lead to ecological degradation (which) might as well affect neighboring towns,” Ybas said.
Sought for comment, Alegria Mayor Verna Magallon confirmed that CIMP has been conducting oil explorations since 2014 because of the presence of natural gas in Alegria; however, “ I am one hundred percent sure that there is no oil spill in Alegria,” Magallon said.
Lumpan Lake is about 100 meters away from where three CIMP oil drilling sites are located.
Jesus Rey Cavalida, the town’s Planning and Development Officer, told CDN that a team was sent yesterday to check on Lumpan Lake but found that there was no oil spill.
Cavalida said that the water simply looked like a mud puddle.
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