By Rey Anthony H. Chiu
TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Feb 16 (PIA) – The Bohol Coastal Resource Management Task Force (BCRMTF) proposed to the Bohol Provincial Capitol its offer of a P50,000 reward for anyone who can lead authorities into identifying the culprit behind the reported oil spill into the waters off Danajon Double Barrier Reef.
The offer came amid continuing investigation on the oil spill in the said reef located off the northern part of the province.
Gov. Edgar Chatto already called for an investigation on the reported oil-spill as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) sent an environmental disaster assessment and probe team to the affected area last Thursday.
According to the probe team which consolidated their post-mission findings earlier this week, they believed the culprits dumped around 600 liters of used oil in the affected area.
The team also said they documented the oil spill to be affecting around 1.450 kilometers, despite the fact that the area is exposed to inter-island currents and strong winds.
Beyond circumstantial evidence of a vessel allegedly dumping the oil, not one in the area could positively identify the culprit as yet, according to probe team members.
The team however believed that there could be somebody out fishing that night who could have seen the dumping as their initial investigations yielded no witnesses so far.
But Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Nestor Canda expressed firm belief that there could be somebody who could have seen the vessel dumping used oil on that fateful night.
“We still need to go to other neighboring islands to urge fishermen who were out that night to come out in the open and report what they saw. The reward may encourage them,” Canda said.
“We only noticed the oil on the shorelines of Bilangbilangan Dako early morning of January 7, so it had been dumped the evening before,” he said in Cebuano.
According to Canda, anyone helping the probe team and the council would be recommended for witness protection to ensure his safety.
Two weeks ago, environmental advocates in Bohol expressed alarm over reports that an oil spill was fast spreading near Jao and Bilang-bilangan Dako islets off Bien Unido Bohol. (fcr/rahc/PIA-Bohol)