ONLY eight out of 24 water sampling stations in Guimaras province showed signs of improved water quality four years after the oil spill in 2006, said the environment agency.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Western Visayas Regional Executive Director Julian Amador and Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro) Raul Lorilla presented this trending result of high level oil thematic standard to stakeholders and local government units of Guimaras last August 4 at the GTIC, Guimaras as part of the commemoration of the August 11, 2006 oil spill 4th year anniversary.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

Amador said the biggest oil spill in the country also affected not only the province of Guimaras but also the coastal towns of Concepcion and Ajuy in the province of Iloilo.

Amador earlier said that his office had started with 24 water sampling stations during the onset of the disaster and later on, reduced to 16 monitoring stations. The trending also started from a quarterly basis and later reduced to annual monitoring.

The 24 sampling stations showed an annual varying trend and only eight sampling stations showed signs of improving the water quality as of calendar year 2010. These sampling stations are located in Barangays Sebaste, San Isidro and Sabang; Barangays Igcawayan, Cabano and San Enrique in San Lorenzo; and Barangays Lawi and Espinosa in Jordan town.

The Guimaras coastal waters were classified into Class SB and Class SC based on their beneficial use. Class SB waters is for bathing with a standard for oil and grease of two milligrams per liter, while Class SC water is for fishing with a standard for oil and grease at three milligrams per liter.

The disaster was the worst oil spill in Philippine history. More than 1.8 million liters or 450,000 gallons of bunker fuel were spilled from the M/V Solar I hired by Petron Oil Philippines, crippling the fishing livelihood of coastal barangays and destroyed the tourism industry of Guimaras.

After four years, the province is gradually emerging from its nightmare but the onslaught and grim scenario of oil and grease in its coastal waters still remained to the heavily affected barangays.