Cavite town in state of calamity as oil spill damages corals, threatens more towns

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SAN PEDRO, Laguna, Philippines—An oil spill, whose origin was still being determined by the Philippine Coast Guard, has affected at least four coastal towns in Cavite and it continues to spread and threatens the livelihood of hundreds of fishermen, according to the disaster authorities in the Calabarzon region composed of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon.

The municipal council of Rosario, where the oil spill was first spotted Thursday afternoon, declared a state of calamity Friday after officials found oil sludge clinging to damaged coral reefs in municipal waters.

Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council director Vicente Tomazar said they have been monitoring the spread of the spill, which has reached the coastal villages in the municipalities of Ternate and Tanza.

He said about 300 fishermen complained of oil sludge among their catch.

“It is now threatening the next town of Naic,” Tomazar said in telephone interview Friday.

The Coast Guard was still investigating if the oil leaked from an underwater pipeline of Petron Corp., which owns a depot in Rosario, or from a motor tanker that was also carrying fuel.

The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), in a statement Friday, revived its call to shut down the Petron depot in Rosario.

In 2010, an oil spill affected the waters of Rosario after a submarine pipeline of Petron was damaged when hit by the anchor of a barge swept by wind and waves at the height of Typhoon Basyang.

Coast Guard spokesman Cmdr. Armand Balilo said by phone that a team dispatched to collect water samples was already in the vicinity.

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