AC Energy Philippines held a stakeholders’ forum to discuss the ongoing cleanup of the oil spill that occurred in Brgy. Obrero, Lapuz, this city. The purpose of the gathering is to assess the progress of the cleanup as well as to discuss other needed measures and concerns of the affected communities.
Attendees were members of the multi-stakeholders task force that the Ayala-led company created. It is composed of representatives from the Iloilo City government, affected barangays, and the Philippine Coast Guard. Also present in the meeting were AC Energy’s consultant AECOM Philippines, and cleanup contractor Harbor Star Shipping Services, Inc.
Gabby Mejia, head of AC Energy Philippines for Plant Operations, led the stakeholder’s forum. He said that “the strong collaboration among the various stakeholders is the key in achieving our common objective of restoring normalcy in the lives of everyone affected by the crisis.”
Prior to the forum, AC Energy Philippines and AECOM Philippines has developed comprehensive action plans for the cleanup drive. The plans were created upon consultation with various government agencies including the City Environment and Natural Resources Office, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office, Environmental Management Bureau, DENR regional office, City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, and U.P. Visayas.
The said action plan as well as the current spill assessment situation report were presented during the forum. The assessment report was prepared using the SCAT or Shoreline Clean-up and Assessment Technique, an internationally-recognized and highly effective method used to survey and document the impact of spills on shorelines, and the effectiveness of cleanup activities and conduct post-cleanup inspections and evaluations.
During the forum, the task force was also able to develop a set of parameters which will be the basis for the gradual reintegration of the community back to their homes. The task force continues to conduct surveys on the affected families, and, at present, only 37 of the 323 relocated households have been covered so far. This represents the initial step for families to safely return to their homes following the community clean-up efforts done by the multi-agency team of stakeholders.
“We are grateful to everyone for participating in this multi-stakeholder process and we look forward to your continued support for the cleanup, relief and rehabilitation efforts,” said Mejia. He assures that AC Energy Philippines remains to be committed in its cleanup efforts, working closely with different stakeholders and affected groups, and strictly complying with international standards.