De Lima urged to probe Napocor officials

De Lima urged to probe Napocor officials

by Leonard Postrado
December 18, 2013

A fisherfolk group has asked Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to investigate and eventually prosecute the top executives of the state-owned National Power Corporation (Napocor) in connection with the oil spill that hit Estancia, Northern Iloilo, a day after super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) battered the Visayas region.

In a six-page letter to de Lima, militant group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) lamented that the November 8, 2013 oil spill in Estancia has added burden to the already complicated and precarious situation of the victims of super typhoon Yolanda in Iloilo.

They blamed the government officials and Napocor officials for the plight of the residents living in the coastal area of Estancia for their dismal response to what they described as a man-made catastrophe.

The group wanted de Lima to investigate the following government officials and Napocor executives: President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, Department of Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon Paje, Napocor President and Chief Operating Officer (CEO) Ma. Gladys Sta. Rita, Napocor Vice Presidents Lorna Dy and Katambayan Celino, Senior Department Manager Manuel Luis Plofino, Napocor managers Romulado Beltran Sr. and Emmanuel Umali.

“Madam Secretary de Lima, the disastrous response of the government to the Estancia oil spill violates the 1987 Constitution that merits the filing of the criminal and administrative cases against the abovementioned officials. The dismal response of the government to the Estancia oil spill violated the right to a balanced and healthful ecology,” said the letter signed by Pamalakaya National Vice Chairpersons Peter Gonzales and Salvador France.

“The heavy oil spill which occurred during the height of super typhoon Yolanda is not a fortuitous event nor an act of God, but a result of sheer criminal negligence and gross incompetence of the Office of the President, other key departments of the executive branch of the government and the state-owned Napocor which operates Power Barge No. 103—the source of oil spill,” they added.

The group maintains that the failure of Napocor to undertake clean-up operations within the prescribed reasonable time or in accordance with the self-imposed deadline set by the state-run power firm deserves the criminal indictment and outright punishment of Napocor officials and other persons directly and indirectly involved in the environmental negligence.

They pointed out that Napocor was well informed about Typhoon Yolanda, four days before the storm hit the country, and there was enough time for Napocor to transfer or remove Power Barge No. 103 from the typhoon path to avoid possible oil spill incident— and this was gravely overlooked by Napocor.

“Madam Secretary, the inefficient and incompetent action of the national government, the Napocor and concerned government agencies led to further complications that worsened the situation and the problems arising from the uncontained oil spill and slow pace of clean up,” the group lamented.

“Madam Secretary, the Filipino public is gravely concern on the collective and individual health and safety of the population living immediately adjacent to the oil spill,” they said.

Source: Manila Bulletin

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