August 11, 2006, M/T Solar 1 sank off the southern coast of Guimaras
The Motor tanker (MT) Solar 1, carrying 500,000 gallons of oil of Petron, sank in rough seas off Guimaras in Western Visayas, on Aug. 11, 2006 resulting in the country’s worst oil spill that has already affected hundreds of kilometers of the province’s shoreline, including the livelihood of thousands of subsistence fishermen in the area.
The oil spill in the Visayas Sea affected marine sanctuaries and mangrove reserves in three out of five municipalities of the province and reached the shores of Iloilo and Negros Occidental. It directly affected the local fisher folks’ means of livelihood.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo declared the Guimaras oil spill as a national calamity following her creation of the task force headed by Environment Secretary Angelo Reyes.
The task force, which seeks to address the ecological and economic disaster brought about by the oil spill, also includes Health Secretary Francisco Duque, Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza, Social Welfare Secretary Esperanza Cabral and Coast Guard Commanding Officer Vice Admiral Arthur Gosingan.
Since then, the national and local governments have undertaken various measures to rehabilitate the island province, shifting from immediate relief activities to long-term recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts.
The oil spill incident paved the way for a stricter enforcement of the use of double-hulled tankers when shipping fuel.