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The recent oil spill from an abaca fiber processing plant in Sto. Domingo, Albay is a disturbing example of negligence: by both the management of the said processing plant, and by DENR. Based on the statement released through its administrative officer, the Pacific Cordage Corporation was amiss in its safety measures when one of its operators neglected to attend to a mixing tank that eventually overflowed and spilled around 2100 liters of oil to nearby farmlands. According to Renaldo de Vera, Pacific Cordage's administrative officer and OIC, the abaca firm's workers were negligent of their duties. This negligence caused the oil spill that now affects seven hectares of rice fields of Brgy. Lidong, Sto. Domingo, Albay. The oil spill has also contaminated the area's waterways and has reached the coastline of Lidong.  Consequently, it is because of this negligence of Pacific Cordage Corp. that the lives of the inhabitants of these communities, their sources of livelihood, and the very environment are gravely endangered. Manuel Rangasa, Albay's Provincial Environment and Eco-Cultural Tourism Office chief, disclosed that the guilt of negligence extends further, however. News reports have quoted Rangasa as stating that Pacific Cordage did not have an Environmental Compliance Certificate or an ECC, and a pollution officer. More disturbingly still, he indicated that despite these violations by the abaca firm of standard government regulations, the DENR which is the pertinent government agency in this matter, has neglected to correct "the firm’s failure to comply with environmental laws over the 38 years it has been operating in the area." If Rangasa's statements are true, it would mean that the DENR allowed Pacific Cordage to endeavor its environmentally risky operations WITHOUT ENSURING that basic safety measures have been set in place.  Why has the DENR, the government agency charged with the care of the environment (and not of mining investors and other exploiters of our community’s natural resources), allowed this? Why has the DENR neglected to enforce these environmental laws? Alas, with the answers to these questions not yet forthcoming, speculations of connivance, corruption, and cover up thrive. Meanwhile, rejoinders that “everyone makes mistakes” have been hoisted already to the charges of negligence made.   While it has to be acknowledged that, indeed, everyone does make mistakes, the precariousness of the environment does not allow a government agency such as the DENR to commit mistakes of negligence. Not when the environment’s present and future are at stake. And when lives and livelihood are at stake as in this case of negligence, it ought to be considered criminal.