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Another Exxon Mobil tragedy: May God forbid!


I know that our local legislators and top government executives are aware of the oil drilling activities currently being conducted by Exxon Mobil around the Sulu Sea. Presumably, they must have taken this matter as just another multi-million dollar venture by a colossal multi-national corporation which from the macro perspective is generally touted to be a huge boon to the Philippine economy and to some trickling quantities would also bring some healthy graces to our local treasury. Hence, nobody even for a split second pondered on the potential negative effects and grave threats it poses to our regional ecology and bio-diversity.

I am ringing this alarm bell now to avert a repeat of the deadly and catastrophic explosion and fire on the trans-ocean LTD’s drilling rig owned by Exxon Mobil in the Gulf of Mexico which caused the instantaneous death of eleven (11) workers and environmental damage which has been estimated by US scientists to reach a staggering amount of $5-Billion. I shall not go into the horrifying details of this oil-related tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s up to our responsible and honorable legislators and other top public officials to do some serious verification efforts. Anyway, the facts about this oil-associated disaster are readily available on the Internet.

Reports disclosed that Exxon Mobil which is rated as the world’s largest publicly traded petroleum and natural- gas company was given the green light to conduct oil-drilling activities in the Sulu Sea by former President Gloria Magapagal Arroyo allegedly behind closed doors. The relevant questions that we should ask are: Were the constitutional provisions regarding exploration of our natural resources in this particular case, oil reserves, complied with to the letter? What about all the safety and security concerns as they generally relate to the entire marine ecology within area of exploration? Were they properly and perfectly addressed before the permit to undertake oil digging activities was granted to Exxon Mobile?

Why am I bringing this issue to our local legislators? Simple. Zamboanga City’s territorial marine waters form part and parcel of the Sulu Sea. Therefore, if another oil-rig tragedy will occur of the same gravity and worse in magnitude to the Exxon Mobil oil-rig explosion and spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the marine ecology of Zamboanga City will inevitably and devastatingly be affected. Don’t you think, a legislative inquiry is urgently in order just to be l00 % sure that the oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico will not happen in the Sulu Sea. May God forbid!

By Clem M. Bascar

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