Talisay asks for lighthouse to prevent sea mishaps-A A +A
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
CEBU CITY -- Talisay City is asking for a lighthouse to prevent accidents like the collision of two ships last August 16 that killed at least 109 persons.
The Talisay City Council led by Vice Mayor Romeo Villarante approved on Tuesday a resolution asking the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) for a lighthouse within Lauis Ledge, which is part of Barangay Tanke’s territory.
Nearly three weeks after the accident, Talisay City and other local governments are still dealing with an oil spill from the M/V St. Thomas Aquinas, which sank after the collision.
A tugboat from Japan is scheduled to arrive in Cebu City on Saturday to salvage the remaining oil inside the passenger ferry, which belongs to the 2GO Group.
So far, more than 100 families in fishing villages in Cordova town have availed themselves of the livelihood assistance offered by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)-Central Visayas.
They received P1,000 per family, in exchange for taking care of 500 potted mangrove propagules. At least 131 households are taking part in the effort.
Toll now 109
As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, the number of those who died in the collision rose to 109, with 28 still unaccounted for or missing.
The Incident Management Team (IMT), which convened again in the Capitol, urged survivors who immediately went home after the accident to appear before them. They believe the list of those missing includes survivors.
Provincial Information Officer Ethel Natera said the P5-million calamity assistance from the Capitol will be released within the week.
The need for a lighthouse surfaced again after the Aquinas and Sulpicio Express Siete collided past 9 p.m. of August 16. Sulpicio Express is operated by the Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp.
Talisay City Councilor Antonio Bacaltos Jr., who proposed the resolution asking for a lighthouse, said that based on Republic Act 8979, the City must adopt measures to protect its inhabitants from the harmful effects of manmade or natural disasters.
He also addressed the resolution to Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, asking for support for the construction of a lighthouse.
Lito Salvio, 2Go’s assistant vice president for shipping management, told reporters the company has hired four Japanese technical divers from a salvaging firm to help fix the oil spill.
“The thing now is...the amount of leak is now very, very minimal,” he said. “So it is very manageable.”
The tugboat, he said, will arrive in Subic today, Wednesday.
A team from the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Limited (ITOPF), led by technical manager Dr. Michael O’Brien, inspected Lauis Ledge on Tuesday.
2GO is a member of ITOPF, which gives technical advice on how to address oil spills and rehabilitate the area affected.
Salvio said they aim to finish siphoning the oil from the Aquinas on September 30.
Cash for mangroves
More than 100 families in fishing villages in Cordova town have availed themselves of the livelihood assistance from BFAR-Central Visayas.
Ionne Villagonzalo, BFAR-Central Visayas finance action division head, said they were able to distribute 65,699 potted mangrove propagules and have paid two pesos for each propagule.
Each of 131 household-beneficiaries listed by the agency has committed to care for 500 potted mangrove propagules. Each family was given about P1,000 for caring for doing so.
She said they visited some of these beneficiaries and found potted mangrove propagules under their beds and even on top of beds and tables.
The BFAR is also giving out P750 worth of fish balls, squid balls and tempura to 110 households and cooking oil, as well as P55 per liter of fuel for the boats of 286 fishermen.
Villagonzalo said the cost of the livelihood assistance is pegged at P1.4 million. Today, they will distribute 39,301 potted mangroves and the corresponding payment.
The propagules will be ready for planting in three to four months, said Edmundo Aregadas, coastal Management Division head of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Central Visayas.
The oil spill may have reached San Fernando town, after people noticed tar globules in Naga City and Talisay City.
Elena Ylanan, BFAR Fisheries Resources Management Division chief, said the agency received a letter from Pulchra company based in San Fernando town.
She said the company noted the presence of oil in their beachfront property.
Ensign Cecille Romero, Philippine Coast Guard Assistant Station Commander, said they continue to monitor and spearhead clean-up activities.
Meanwhile, Central Command Chief Roy Deveraturda told the team there were still bodies trapped inside the passenger vessel. But he is hopeful there were some survivors who went home right after the accident and were listed as unaccounted for.
During the meeting, Naval Forces Central (Navforcen) Commander Reynaldo Yoma said the divers underwent a check-up on Tuesday to make sure they have no health problems after diving for many days.
After the collision on August 16, the Navforcen divers have conducted 54 dives and retrieved 64 bodies as of Monday.
The Navforcen has 59 divers. Fifteen of them are technical divers and the rest are support divers.
They will resume diving today, Wednesday. (JKV/BAP/KAL/FMG/Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 04, 2013.