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Philippine Locals Threaten Oil Company Boycott Over Slow Spill Clean-up Efforts News Service
September 13, 2006 18:14 EST

MANILA, The Philippines -- Local government officials and residents have called for a boycott of the products of Petron Corporation, the country's biggest oil refinery, because of its alleged inability to clear the 5,000-gallon oil spill.

The spill in early August has destroyed livelihoods and the environment in central Philippines.

The boycott was resorted to after Petron failed in its promise to siphon the remaining 50,000 gallons of bunker fuel in the Solar tanker which sank off Guimaras Island on August 11, a resident said.

Local government officials were also angry because Petron's plan to re-float the ill-fated tanker did not proceed as expected.


They gave Petron until September 15 to clear lines of beaches, mangroves, fish sanctuaries, and waters of Guimaras and other areas in Iloilo Province of the slick.

Petron was also criticised for its refusal to pay for the international oil pollution fund which would pay for the siphoning of the remaining fuel in Solar I, and the refloating of the tanker.

In response, Joe Nichols, deputy director of the International Oil Pollution Compensation (IOPC) Funds said the IOPC will decide "next week" about the plan to siphon the remaining bunker fuel from the ill-fated tanker.

But the refloating of Solar I would be a "very dangerous plan", said Nichols, adding the tanker is sitting upright and remained half buried in an area that was recorded as having suffered an earthquake of magnitude 8.2 on the Richter scale in 1947.

IOPC promised $300 million (Dh1.1 billion) compensation for some 26,000 claimants such as fishermen, resort owners and other residents who lost their livelihood due to the oil spill, said Nichols. The IOPC is in charge of compensations for damages from oil spills.

In response to the restive residents, Jose Campos, Petron's Vice-President for marketing, said, "The plan to boycott Petron products will not help us solve the problem."