Arroyo dissolves Guimaras oil spill task force

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has dissolved the regional task force on last year’s massive oil spill off Guimaras Island, the worst ecological disaster in Philippine maritime history.

Iloilo-based news site The News Today reported Friday that Rafael Coscolluela, outgoing presidential adviser for Western Visayas, said Mrs Arroyo issued the order through Administrative Order 191.

He said the abolition of the Task Force Solar I Oil Spill (TF SOS) was meant to streamline procedures related to the implementation of rehabilitation programs for areas affected by last year’s massive oil spill.

The President’s order also authorizes the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) to review and approve the rehabilitation proposals of various agencies and to oversee the utilization of calamity funds.

Coscolluela said the Office of Civil Defense-Western Visayas will act as the secretariat.

He also said the order also stemmed from his alleged inability to continue his function as task force head when he assumes his new post as administrator of the Philippine Sugar Administration effective next month.

Task Force SOS was formed shortly after the Aug. 11, 2006 sinking of the M/T Solar I off the coast of Guimaras. The bunker fuel spilled into the water and affected marine life in the area, displacing hundreds of fisherfolk in dozens of villages.

The task force includes various government agencies mostly involved in disaster response and management.

These agencies include the Office of Civil Defense, Philippine National Police, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Coast Guard. – GMANews.TV

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