Faculty, students help address town’s oil spill woes

For raising more awareness about an oil spill in Cordova town in Cebu’s east coast, an environmental lawyer extended her appreciation to the University of the Philippines Cebu (UP Cebu).

Lawyer Gloria Estenzo Ramos lauded the UP Cebu community for heading the forum dubbed “Impact of Oil Spill in Cordova” at the school’s Audio Visual Room 2 last Sept. 11.

The forum, the first convened by the academe about the spill, was hosted by the Political Science 189 or Environmental Politics and Policy class of Prof. Zenaida Ligan.

Ramos, an instructor with the University of Cebu College of Law also encouraged UPians to do more particularly through research.

“Cordova needs our help and we can do that through forums like this,” said Ramos, who is also the coordinator of Philippine Earth Justice Center Inc.

She sought assistance for running an information campaign, saying that her group cannot do all the work by itself.

Ramos was joined by Julieta Baguio of the Cordova agriculture department and Owen Migraso of the Central Visayas Fisherfolk Development Center.

Cordova is the worst-hit town in the aftermath of an oil spill that followed the collision of MV St. Thomas Aquinas and a Sulpicio Lines cargo ship at the Lawis Ledge Aug 16.

Cordova townsfolk, most of whom depend on fishing for their livelihood, are unable to make ends meet since their catch is considered unfit for eating.

Hectares of mangroves in the area may die of oil contamination.

UP Cebu Dean Liza Corro said the faculty will certainly release a study about the spill “especially on social economics” in Cordova.

She also said the biology and environmental science professors gave preparedness advice to the Lapu-Lapu city government even before the spill.

Dr. Mary Joyce Flores, a UP Cebu biology and environmental science faculty said they are are doing research in collaboration with the University of San Carlos.

“We don’t want to compete. We want to help Cordova,” said Flores, who joined Prof. Henry Francis Espiritu and Dr. Mary Gretchen Chaves as forum reactors.

Prof. Ligan’s environmental politics and policy students will also conduct research in Cordova.

“We will endeavor to ascertain what possible livelihood programs can be suggested or recommended to the municipality based on what the affected community wants,” she said.

“We are pro-active.”

The students, Ligan said, went to Cordova Sept. 24 to interview affected residents.

They will present their research in the Oct. 7 session of the Cordova Municipal Council.

Contributed by Carmen Jonahville Matarlo
*This story is brought to you by students of Journalism 102: News Writing and Journalism 104: Editing in cooperation with the UP Cebu Public Information Office.