PBBM called to intervene as oil spill reaches Calapan
March 17, 2023 - Friday 11:03 PM by Caryl Gonzales
Protect VIP, a coalition of sectors, communities, and organizations that advocate the protection of the Verde Island Passage (VIP), called on President Bongbong Marcos to “personally” intervene and order relevant government agencies to “pour all efforts and resources” to contain the oil spill from sunken MT Princess Empress.
Three weeks after the oil tanker sank off the coast of Naujan, Oriental Mindoro, Calapan Mayor Malou Morillo said that there are light traces of the oil spill on the shoreline of Barangay Navotas.
“The only way to achieve the President’s hope to clean up the oil spill in four months is to compel government agencies to direct all resources for containment,” Protect VIP Convenor Fr. Edwin Gariguez said in a statement.
“We are also in support of the consensus raised during the Senate hearing about the need to assign an oil spill response chief. Mr. President, the VIP is a crucial contributor to the Philippine economy. You must move now,” he added.
Gariguez also sought more concrete plans from the national government as worries over the sustainability of the current assistance have surfaced.
“We do not want the oil response to suffer the same fate of the sunken tanker – the captain must steer the ship towards safety and that someone should be the President,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, the fisherfolk organization Bukluran ng Mangingisda ng Batangas has expressed its worries about the livelihood support and response, saying they say what happened to the affected fishermen in Pola and Naujan.
“Kung kaya't kaming mga mangingisda ng Batangas na sakop ng Verde Island Passage ay malaki ang pangamba. Kaisa nila kami sa panawagan ng mabilis, kumpleto, at pangmatagalang suporta mula sa lokal at nasyonal na pamahalaan (That's why we Batangas fishermen who are covered by the Verde Island Passage are very afraid. They join us in calling for prompt, complete, and long-term support from local and national governments),” Bukluran ng Mangingisda ng Batangas External Vice President Maximo Bayubay.
The Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED) deployed a team to survey the affected areas in Oriental Mindoro. It found that the no-fishing ban imposed in the aftermath of the spill is causing widespread effects on the economy of Oriental Mindoro.
Furthermore, Protect VIP has been adamant in its stance to demand full accountability from companies at fault: RDC Reield Marine Services as the owner of MT Princess Empress, and SL Harbor Bulk Terminal Corporation, exposed to be a subsidiary of San Miguel Corporation.
The group pointed out the government is moving but “not fast enough.”
“Half a month has passed already and the deployment of a remote operating vehicle (ROV) will not arrive until next week,” Protect VIP said.
They pointed out the need to identify who would compensate the affected residents and pay for the environmental damage to VIP for the short term. While in the long term, they pushed policymakers to not just look at oil spills from sunken ships but also how to minimize the traffic of ships carrying poisonous cargo.
Calapan mayor announced in a radio interview that, currently, they are still able to contain the oil spill because it still only traces, but they are still in a hurry as it will pose a big impact on the fishermen.
Cop in P6.7B shabu drug haul in Manila dismissed
Police Master Sergeant Rodolfo Mayo Jr., a police anti-illegal drug intelligence operative arrested last year for over 990 kilos of shabu seized in Manila, is already dismissed from the service, the Philippine National Police (PNP) announced on Tuesday, March 21. Based on the PNP data, the recomm...12 hours ago