Sep 232014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/06/07MANILA2050.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA2050
2007-06-20 08:14
2011-08-30 01:44
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO0352
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #2050/01 1710814
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 200814Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7042
INFO RUEHZS/ASEAN COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RULSJGA/COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUSICWP/COMLOGGRUWESTPAC SINGAPORE IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 002050

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/EX AND EAP/MTS
STATE PASS EPA
STATE PASS USAID
USDOC FOR NOAA/NMMS
USDA PASS FOREST SERVICE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV EWWT OTRA EAID RP
SUBJECT: Building Capacity in Disaster Response

REF: (a) MANILA 03478 (b) MANILA 03549

——–
SUMMARY
——–

¶1. Embassy Manila capped its assistance for the worst oil spill in
the Philippine history by sponsoring a workshop for Philippine
stakeholders to upgrade and update planning, response, and damage
mitigation processes for oil spills and other disasters. Two oil
spill experts from the U.S. Coast Guard and a National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration scientist returned to the Philippines to
facilitate a workshop, conduct consultations, and assess the spill
site. Over 40 representatives of the Philippine government, oil
industry, and civil society agreed to form a working group to seek
presidential approval to craft an improved disaster plan.

—————–
WORKSHOP FINDINGS
—————–

¶2. A broad cross-section of Philippine society participated in the
workshop, held in Manila from May 21-23, including representatives
from seven Philippine governmental agencies, including the lead
agency for disasters, various environmental agencies, and the
Philippine Coast Guard; officials from the four largest oil
companies shipping in Philippine waters; and leaders from two
non-governmental groups. Three representatives from international
organizations also made presentations on available support and
expertise in the region. This was the first time all of these
entities met since the Solar I oil spill (reftels) occurred on
Guimaras Island on August 11, 2006.

¶3. Facilitators organized two days of post-workshop consultations.
These meetings served to consolidate, refine, and prioritize the
workshop findings. Participants unanimously agreed to form a
Technical Working Group consisting of all entities represented at
the workshop and report directly to the National Disaster
Coordinating Council Chairman. The group composed a final document,
which will be presented at the next Council meeting and the group
will urge immediate implementation of its recommendations.

¶4. The participants agreed that a revision of the Philippine
national disaster plan is necessary and formed a Technical
Working Group to review and improve these plans. The charter to
formalize this group will be presented to Philippine President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and will incorporate the following: a) The
National Disaster Coordinating Council will lead the implementation
of national disaster mitigation and response plans; b) utilize a
unified command structure charging agencies and responsible parties
with appropriate authority and jurisdiction; c)adopt a national
incident management system that ensures participation of
stakeholders in planning, exercises and response at all levels; d)
improve preventive measures and standards for transportation safety
to reduce future spills; e) clarify stakeholders’ roles in the
planning process; f) identify domestic and international scientific
experts in plans at all levels; g) develop standard rates for
service providers; h) pinpoint best practices for debris collection
and disposal; i) identify domestic and international media
management specialists; j) improve access to technical experts and
information; k) develop baseline data for socioeconomic activities
in coastal communities and house it in a central repository; and l)
identify training needs for Philippine Coast Guard personnel,
industry, contractors, stakeholders, and volunteers.

¶5. The week of May 28th, the NOAA scientist returned Guimaras Island
with the Department of EnQonment and Natural Resource scientists
to evaluate residual damage from the bunker fuel. Although the
affected mangroves are showing some signs of stress and patchy
mortality, most of the trees have survived the oiling and their
recovery is well underway. From the onset, the NOAA scientist
recommended that responders refrain from cleaning the oiled
mangroves. Most of the oil that initially coated mangrove trunks and
roots was naturally cleaned by the abrasion of tidal action,
accelerated by a September typhoon. This visit validated the
initial recommendation and no further action needs to be taken to
clean or treat the mangroves: they will continue to recover

MANILA 00002050 002 OF 002

naturally. Previously oiled sand and gravel beaches observed during
the May visit also appeared to be much cleaner. The early manual
debris removal and subsequent wave action have helped rehabilitate
even the most heavily oiled gravel shorelines.

——-
COMMENT
——-

¶6. The Oil Spill Workshop provided a structured assessment of the
Solar I oil spill and a platform to improve planning and
coordination. This post-disaster activity comes at an opportune
time, since the Oil Pollution Compensation Act of 2007 became law on
June 4, 2007. This legislation creates a local mechanism for the
prevention, mitigation and control of oil pollution within the
territorial boundaries of the country. The inter-governmental
recommendations from the workshop can serve as the basis for
crafting the act’s implementing rules and regulations.

KENNEY

   

 

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