Dung announced the information at the Government’s press conference on June 30, which revealed a record of Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Limited Company Chairman Chen Yuan Cheng’s apology to Vietnamese people.
In his speech, Chen, on behalf of the company’s 6,300 officials and workers, accepted responsibility and offered an apology to the Vietnamese Party, State, National Assembly, Government, Prime Minister, and people, especially the residents in the four central coastal provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue for causing the environmental problem sparking mass fish deaths that has seriously affected the people’s daily lives and production, as well as the local maritime environment.
According to Dung, after admitting its link to the fish deaths, Formosa made a five-point commitment to correct its wrongdoings and resolve the environmental impacts.
The company pledged to publicly apologise to the Vietnamese Government and people for the incident, offer a total compensation of VND11.5 trillion (equivalent to US$500 million), which will be used to support local fishermen to switch to other jobs and recover the polluted maritime environment.
In the same vein, Formosa will absolutely deal with shortcomings and limitations in waste and wastewater treatment, improve its production technologies to ensure waste is completely treated before being discharged to the environment as required by Vietnamese State management agencies, and not to repeat such incident.
The company also promised to coordinate with Vietnamese ministries and agencies and the central provinces to build a set of sustainable solutions to protect the maritime environment in the central region, building trust among Vietnamese people and international friends.
The firm finally guaranteed to fulfill all the commitments regarding the incident it has made to the Vietnamese Government and not to repeat violations of local laws on environmental and water resource protection.
Chairman Chen noted his hope that “with its heartfelt apology and maximum endeavours to handle the incident, Formosa will get sympathy from the Vietnamese Party, State and people.”
Minister Dung told reporters that after learning about the news, the Party and State leaders, particularly the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Ministers, directed drastic actions be taken to help affected residents settle down their lives while maintaining political security and social safety and order and making initial assessment of socio-economic and environmental damage.
Ministries, agencies and localities were promptly asked to establish the cause and the culprit of the incident in a cautious, scientific, objective and lawful manner.
The Ministry of Science and Technology partnered with the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST), ministries and agencies concerned, more than 100 leading experts and scientists from 30 units at home and abroad, to acquire data and independent feedback from foreign experts.
They confirmed that the source of waste from the Vung Ang area in Ha Tinh province contained phenol and xyanua, which, in combination with iron hydroxide, created a mixed compound having a heavier density than seawater and flowing from Ha Tinh to Thua Thien-Hue killing sea-life en masse.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE), in collaboration with ministries, agencies and localities, established an interdisciplinary inspection team grouping leading experts and scientists. They found out that Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh was behind violations and incidents during its pilot run that produced phenol, xyanua and iron hydroxide with higher than allowed toxicity levels.
Based on such evidence, the MoNRE in partnership with the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Justice, Public Security, Agriculture and Rural Development, Science and Technology, VAST, Ha Tinh authorities and authorised agencies, held a number of working sessions with Formosa Taiwan and Formosa Ha Tinh.
Fully aware of the losses suffered by locals in the region, the PM urged ministries, agencies and localities to continue adopting synchronous measures to offer compensation and support to them in changing livelihoods, ensuring openness and transparency under the public watch.
The Vietnam Fatherland Front, socio-political organisations and the press must supervise and demand Formosa Ha Tinh fully and seriously deliver on its commitments, promptly install marine environmental monitoring systems in the four provinces, publicise environment quality information and work to recover the polluted marine environment.
Measures to ensure social welfares and social security and order will continue.
Individuals and organisations which committed violations in the case will be stringently disciplined in line with the law.
Concluding the press conference, Minister Dung expressed the government’s thanks to the public at home and abroad, particularly those in the four affected provinces, as well as the scientists, the Politburo and the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat, the Party commissions, VFF, ministries, agencies, localities and the media and international organisations, for their contributions to dealing with the disaster.
He also hailed Taiwanese public opinions for expressing support for the Vietnamese Government in tackling violations and asking for Formosa’s cooperation.
On the occasion, he also called on ministries, agencies and localities to continue raising their sense of responsibility, State management capacity, fine-tuning legal regulations, increasing inspection and monitoring law enforcement, meeting the demand for global integration and sustainable development.
The incident also offers businesses a lesson about law abidance, including regulations on environment protection, he said.