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P’sinan coal spill probed

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – The provincial board is set to conduct an inquiry next week into the coal spill in a coastal village in Agno town.

First district board member Alice Pulido sought the investigation as Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) chemist Reggie Regpala expressed fear that the coal, which came from the 900-foot Aisner which ran aground off Sitio Talisay in Barangay Macaboboni, Agno town, could release heavy metals like mercury, zinc, lead and arsenic into the water.

The vessel, owned by Metro Manila-based Asian Shipping Company, was en route from Semirara, Antique to Poro Point in La Union to deliver the coal to the Philippine National Oil Company.

But high waves spawned by a storm caused it to run aground off Sitio Talisay, and spill coal, affecting nearly 500 meters of the shoreline.

The vessel remains aground off the village, continuing to spill coal when heavy waves pound it.

Lawyer Verna Nava-Perez, the provincial board’s secretary, said officials of BFAR, Coast Guard, Philippine National Police, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Agno municipal government, and Asian Shipping Company will be invited to attend the inquiry.

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