Petron, Sunshine Maritime face P200-M suit over oil spill

By Niko Baua, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 17 2012 07:38 PM | Updated as of Mar 18 2012 07:42 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Six years after the Guimaras oil spill, the class suit against Petron and the Sunshine Maritime Development Corporation -- owner of the sunken MT Solar 1, was finally lodged in court.

The complaint filed by nearly 1,000 residents is voluminous.

"It’s the biggest oil disaster in the country, nakakatakot na hindi sila matulungan," said Atty. Antonio Ligon, lawyer of the oil spill victims.

Criminal and civil cases were filed against the two companies and the complainants are seeking more than P200 million in damages for the tons of oil that spilled in the waters off Guimaras.

They say, the oil spill destroyed fisheries and mangroves in the province and some residents fell ill.

"May kapabayaan ang nagmamando ng vessel, ‘yung pangyayari nakadagdag sa oil spill," said Ligon.

ABS-CBN News sought a reaction from the Sunshine Maritime Development Corporation's office in Manila, but it was said to have already closed.

Petron refused to grant interviews, but it previously said it did not neglect their responsibilities or abandon its obligation.

The court is expected to issue warrants of arrest for officials of the two companies.