Iloilo City — A local official here clarified that not all coastal residents affected by the oil spill triggered by a damaged power barge in Iloilo City have been transferred to hotels.
“Only those who were staying at the evacuation centers were transferred to hotels,” said Donna Magno, director of the Iloilo City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (Iloilo City DRRMO).
This disclosure came after AC Energy Philippines, owner of the damaged power barge, started moving evacuees Thursday night, following concerns raised by Mayor Jerry Treñas over the poor condition of the displaced residents at five evacuation centers.
Magno told The Manila Bulletin in an interview Friday, July 10, that more than 312 families from Barrio Obrero, Loboc and Mansaya villages were taken to the Courtyard by Marriott Iloilo, and the District 21 and Diversion 21 hotels.
Families living in informal settlements along the coastline were only some of those who chose to temporarily abandon their homes since July 3 as fumes of the leaked bunker fuel became unbearable.
The evacuees are now a little comfortable at the hotels as compared to the evacuation centers, where many of them slept on the floor without beddings.
Gabby Mejia, head for plant operations of AC Energy, said the hotel stay for evacuees was an alternative solution to the concerns raised by the city government.
Mejia explained to Manila Bulletin in a separate interview that AC Energy tried to procure items such as folding beds and other items for evacuation centers, but had a hard time finding supplies in Iloilo City.
Meanwhile, there were still hundreds of families in three villages not included in the hotel stay when they refused to initially transfer to evacuation centers due to fear of getting infected with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Barangay Captain Ricardo S. Diño Jr. of Barrio Obrero village told Manila Bulletin that they were asking AC Energy to provide other forms of assistance to those who did not evacuate.
Mejia assured AC Energy have sent food packs to those who did not evacuate.