Statement on the Recent Oil Spill at Verde Island Passage & the Proposed Verde Island Protected Seascape Bill of 2022

Revered as the “center of the center” of the world’s marine biodiversity, the Verde Island Passage is undoubtedly a global environmental treasure and the Philippines’ pride and crown jewel. It is not only home to a myriad of marine species and corrals but also a source of livelihood for over two (2) million Filipinos.

Unfortunately, graft and corruption and the unbridled greed for profit by some sectors of society are leading the Verde Passage to its ultimate destruction and demise. Thus, the Philippine Bar Association
strongly denounces the recent oil spill resulting from the sinking of MT Princess Empress and it calls for the absolute prohibition of oil tankers from using the Verde Island Passage.

We, the undersigned Board of Trustees and Advisers of the PBA join the collective demand of local government units and various organizations that the passage be strictly used by passenger and fishing
vessels only. Oil tankers and similar transport mechanisms, armed with fraudulent paperwork, carry nothing but doom and destruction. A failure to ban these oil tankers is a failure to protect the dynamic future of Verde Island Passage, and ultimately, marine life.

We likewise fully support and hope for the unimpeded passage of VERDE ISLAND PASSAGE PROTECTED SEASCAPE (VIPPS) BILL OF 2022 or S. No. 518 introduced by Senator Cynthia A. Villar. Oil spills and biodiversity loss directly impact human life not only in the island but
on a national level.

The law is made for man, indeed — and legislation must serve the purpose of protecting humanity and humanity’s natural habitat.

Download official letterhead here