Out of the loop

By: Editorial May 09,2017 - 09:58 PM

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Hopefully by this time the Philippine Coast Guard Cebu station would have coordinated with the Talisay City government on how to deal with the damage caused by the cargo vessel that sank off the shores of Barangay Cansojong, Talisay City, last Sunday morning.

Talisay City Councilor Antonio Bacaltos Jr. said he and the other Talisay City officials had yet to meet with the Coast Guard and the company that owned the MV Fortuner to discuss ways to salvage the vessel and deal with the oil spill that resulted after its hull got damaged somehow.

It’s been a full day, and the vessel’s captain had yet to submit the marine protest that would shed light on how and why the vessel cracked just enough for it to slowly sink to the sea.

While the crew had been transferred safely, the vessel’s cargo of metal parts and special fuel continue to leak at an unknown rate, causing fears that another maritime disaster is in the making.

Despite these conditions, the Coast Guard and the shipping company had both been unable to inform, much less meet, with Talisay City government officials immediately to discuss the situation, at least according to some key officials who should be in the know about this.

This oversight, unintentional or deliberate, is nothing new; and Alvin Santillana, who now chairs the Talisay City government’s City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, should find this situation quite familiar.

It was in 2013 when two commercial vessels figured in what would otherwise be an avoidable collision off the Lauis Ledge in Talisay City that resulted in the deaths of scores of passengers — some of whose remains may not have been recovered — and an oil spill that damaged the ecosystem of Talisay City, Cordova town and parts of Mactan in Lapu-Lapu City.

It was the Cebu City government, then under former mayor Michael Rama, that took the lead in the rescue, relief and salvage operations of the remains as well as in dealing with the resulting oil spill since then Talisay City mayor Johnny “JVR” delos Reyes appeared to have been shell-shocked since it was the first time he encountered such a situation in his fledgling administration.

Santillana was then assigned at the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office at the time the disaster occurred, and now nearly four years later, he finds himself being in the dark along with other Talisay City officials who should have been appraised about the situation since it concerns their area, which includes a marine sanctuary that is at risk of being damaged by the vessel’s oil leak.

This is not about political turf; it is about requiring the Coast Guard to tell Talisay City, the affected party, what their situation is and involving them in resolving a problem caused by another party that is now threatening to damage their environment anew.

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TAGS: coast, company, fears, government, loop, morning, OUT
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