Fishermen still waiting for pay
Kristine B. Quintas (The Freeman) - March 9, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines- After almost two years, the members of the Mambaling Fisher Folk Organization have yet to receive the P2,500 honoraria promised to them to help to remove the oil from the MV St. Thomas Aquinas which sank after colliding with a cargo vessel in 2013.

About 50 members of the organization alleged that Bantay Dagat Commission Director Ranulfo Sebusa did not release the fund. Reportedly, the Cebu City government coordinated through the Bantay Dagat Commission with the Department of Labor and Employment in providing “emergency jobs” for Mambaling Fisher Folk Organization and those who were affected.

Sebusa, however, said the monetary support allocated for the said project was not instantly directed to their office, it was coursed through the Coastal Management Board.

“Dugay na nang kwartaha. Wala mi kadawat ana. Gihatag sa Bantay Dagat Commission pero wala madayon kay gibalhin sa Coastal Management Board,” he said.

Coastal Board executive director Jan Mirafuentes declined to comment on the issue. However, he said he will have a dialogue with the commission.

For two months the fisherfolks helped in setting up spill booms created using coconut husks placed inside jute sacks, in the waters along the Cebu South Coastal Road where the waters of Talisay and Cebu meet.

The group asked for the intervention of the city government for the release of their honoraria. The handwritten request was sent to the Office of City Councilor Margarita Osmeña last week.

“Kami mitrabaho taliwala sa kabaho, hugaw, abog ug samad-samad aron lamang makuha ang oil nga mikatap sa kadagatan… Tabangi mi kay kami mga kabus lamang,” said Emma Morre, president of the organization.

This issue is set to be tackled in this Wednesday’s regular session.    About 2,000 fishermen were affected by the oil spill from the MV St. Thomas Aquinas after it collided with the MV Sulpicio Express at Lawis Ledge near the south entrance to the Cebu harbor on the evening of August 16, 2013.

It was reported that out of the 120,000 liters of bunker or crude fuel carried by the sunken vessel, an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 liters was expelled.

The oil spill reportedly affected the barangays of Inayawan, Cogon-Pardo, Basak-Pardo, Basak-San Nicolas, Mambaling and Duljo-Fatima.

The ferry was carrying 832 passengers and crew when it collided with the cargo vessel. Over a hundred people were killed in the tragedy.

DOLE has yet to give its account regarding the issue.  DOLE spokeswoman Luchel Taniza said some DOLE personnel still have to make consultations with the department head to further clarify the status of the allocated funds set for the program.

“I know for a fact that we provide programs but I am unaware of the situation since I just took office in November. I’ll give a feedback and I’ll get to you as soon as possible,” she said in a phone interview yesterday. — with May B. Miasco/BRP (FREEMAN)

 

BANTAY DAGAT COMMISSION BANTAY DAGAT COMMISSION DIRECTOR RANULFO SEBUSA BASAK-SAN NICOLAS CEBU CITY CEBU SOUTH COASTAL ROAD COASTAL BOARD COASTAL MANAGEMENT BOARD DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT MAMBALING FISHER FOLK ORGANIZATION ST. THOMAS AQUINAS
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