8/02/2020 Randomly Candid 0 Comments


Amidst the oil spill crisis and challenges brought by the recent pandemic, Arturo sees a silver lining and stays strong with a positive disposition.

Lost livelihood, environmental damages, and challenging crisis – these are the words that people commonly connote to the recent oil spill incident in Iloilo Strait caused by the explosion of a power barge owned by AC Energy Philippines on the evening of July 3. But to the Guimarasnons who volunteered to clean up the oil spill, it is a “blessing in disguise”.

It is no question that the said incident has its negative impacts on the communities it affected, particularly in Iloilo and Guimaras. Despite these challenges, Arturo Ganila, Jr., a volunteer of the AC Energy Philippines’ shoreline cleanup initiative in Hoskyn, Jordan, one of the affected communities in Guimaras, sees an opportunity in this unprecedented situation.

Arturo shows us one of the areas that they have already cleaned up.

A father of two, Arturo lost his job as a ferry boat driver way before Covid-19 came. The capsize accident in Iloilo-Guimaras Strait involving three ferry boats last year prompted Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) to implement stricter guidelines in the issuance of a Certificate of Philippine Registry (CPR) which is one of the requirements for the ferry boat operators. 

He narrated his struggles in supporting his family because of the said misfortune. It became worst when the lockdown was implemented because of Covid-19. He was holding on to the little help from the local government to sustain their daily needs.

Fishing has been the major industry in Hoskyn, Jordan, Guimaras.

Then, the oil spill incident happened. Arturo admits he almost lost hope when he heard about the news. He thought about what to do as the sea has been his source of their daily sustenance, especially during this time of the pandemic when food supply is scarce and business activities are very limited.

CLEAN AND CLEAR. This is one of the areas In Hosky, Jordan, Guimaras that was already cleared from the oil spill.

Instead of entertaining negative thoughts, Arturo responded to the need of his community. He was one of the first to initiate the making of an improvised spill boom made of used clothes donated by her aunt who used to have an ukay-ukay business to prevent the oil spill from reaching the coastline.

He commends AC Energy through the personnel of Guimaras Wind Power Corporation for also acting fast to check on the damages and initiate programs to manage the crisis and most importantly, help the affected communities.

AC Energy hired 25 residents in Hoskyn to help in the shoreline cleanup initiative.

Under AC Energy’s shoreline cleanup initiative, Arturo has become the team leader in their barangay. He is the one in-charged of assigning volunteers to clean up certain areas. There are around 25 volunteers who were hired by AC Energy in Hoskyn for the said program. Each volunteer receives P500 daily compensation which has become a source of income to the residents.

“Subong, wala na guid income tungod sa natabo nga trahedya last year. Tapos may pandemic pa guid. Pasalamat ko gani nga nagbulig ang AC Energy sa pagpaubra. May income man kami bisan pandemic." (Now, we do not have any source of income because of the incident that happened last year. And there is also a pandemic. I am thankful that AC Energy hired us. At least, we have an income even during the pandemic.)”, Arturo said.

Each volunteer receives P500 daily compensation which has been a big help to sustain their families' daily needs.

Aside from hiring the residents for the shoreline cleanup initiative, AC Energy also continuously supports the community by providing the volunteers safety trainings, personal protective equipment (PPEs) such as boots, gloves, and masks, and planning out programs for environmental rehabilitation and livelihood compensation, among others.

Aside from helping their own community, they also earn from it, and that is something that they are thankful for despite the unwanted circumstances that happened.

To date, AC Energy was able to hire around 900 residents for its shoreline cleanup initiatives in the different barangays in Guimaras and Iloilo that lead to the recovery of 90% of the oil that spilled.

The mangroves are now almost back to their normal state, but the cleanup continues as AC Energy plans out a Mangrove Rehabilitation Program for more sustainable environmental impact.

Arturo knows that this situation will end soon, and he needs to find another job that could sustain the daily needs of his family. But for him, AC Energy’s support is already a big help to bring back what was lost and start anew.

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