Latest Stories

Looking for fish to catch, spilled fuel to collect


ROSARIO, Cavite—Wearing the face masks given to them by health and social workers, Rodolfo Lasca, 49, and two neighbors arrived at the village basketball court on Saturday to claim their emergency rice ration.

Ever since a huge diesel oil spill contaminated the waters of Manila Bay on Thursday, Lasca and residents of the hard-hit coastal villages of Cavite province who depend on the bay’s vital fishing industry worry about how they are going to manage in the coming days.

“A few local fishermen are putting to sea again but have to go much farther out to reach the fish,” said Ryan Santos, a village official here.

However, most stayed home.

“They are complaining that the slick is fouling up their boat hulls and nets,” said Santos.

Fish kill, deadly fumes

Local officials said fish and other marine life floated up dead and some residents fell sick from the fumes after an estimated 500,000 liters of fuel cast a slick across 20 kilometers of coastline.

The Philippine Coast Guard said the slick, which by Friday had covered a 300 square kilometer area, was likely released by either a fuel depot in Rosario owned by Petron Corp. or an oil tanker that had unloaded its cargo at the terminal on Wednesday.

The town residents said they first spotted the spill on Thursday afternoon when the water “turned red.”

On Saturday, what could be seen was a bluish sheen from the diesel on the water’s surface.

The bay is the country’s most important waterway in a region where about 30 million people, or nearly a third of the Philippine population, live.

Rosario Mayor Jose Ricafrente said earlier the spill had jeopardized the livelihood of 40,000 people who depend on the town’s fishing industry.

Food-for-diesel scheme

Lasca and other fisherfolk who were temporarily put out of work are being given emergency food rations by the municipal government. To get their rations, however, they have to help in gathering the spilt fuel.

They placed the fuel in empty bottles, which they handed over to town officials in exchange for claim stubs that entitled them to the emergency food rations.

“We couldn’t stop them [from collecting the spilled diesel] anyway, so we devised some sort of a food-for-work program,” said Ricafrente, who presided at his weekend satellite office at a public resort here on Saturday.

Rosario had declared a state of calamity, which enabled the municipality to release P2 million of its calamity fund to purchase the rice and sardines that it gave away to the affected residents, the mayor said.

For every 6 liters of collected diesel, the municipal government gave 3 kilograms of rice and three cans of sardines.

Ricafrente said this would also discourage residents from hoarding the diesel in their homes.

“It could be hazardous to their health and it is still combustible [even when mixed with water],” he said.

The municipal government is planning to turn over the recovered diesel, which it has kept in metal drums, to Petron for disposal.

No more fish to catch

Lasca said he worried about what his family would eat, with no more fish to catch and no more diesel to collect in exchange for food.

“This is good for just one meal,” he said, patting the plastic bag of rice for his family’s lunch.

Concerned about the safety of his three children, Lasca said they might just have to eat meat or canned goods instead of fish.

“But not everyone can afford to buy pork,” said another resident, Romeo Oriol, 52. “We’d rather turn this into porridge to make sure it’s enough for my wife and six children,” he said.

Oriol said the fisherfolk had stopped going out to sea the past two days since they could not sell their catch anyway.

“Those who ventured out came home empty-handed, as they couldn’t catch fish anywhere near the vicinity,” he said.

Contamination warnings

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources has warned against contamination in the marine products caught off the waters of Rosario, causing a sudden drop in the sale of fish, shellfish and seafoods in markets here.

“But let us not make sweeping statements because it’s affecting the [town’s] livelihood. Let’s wait for the results of the tests,” said Ricafrente, appealing to Department of Health (DOH) representatives who came to his satellite office here.

Dr. Noel Pasion, chief of local health assistance of the DOH regional office, told the mayor they would rather that residents avoid long exposure to the diesel, or at the least take a full bath every time they are exposed to it.

Ricafrente stressed that the municipal government was not imposing a fishing ban and has encouraged fisherfolk to sail beyond the 1-kilometer zone from where the MT Makisig, the oil tanker suspected to have caused the leak, was docked.

The mayor said the municipal government also planned to commission Vecom Marine Chemical Philippines, a private company, that has offered to supply some oil spill dispersants, a chemical that will disperse the remaining oil slick in the water.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources , Calamity Fund , Cavite , Cavite oil spill , Cavite province , diesel oil spill , emergency rice ration , Fishing industry , Oil tanker , Petron Corp. , Philippine Coast Guard , Rodolfo Lasca

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Gigi Reyes back to face charges
  2. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  3. In the know: Gigi Reyes
  4. SC suspends proctor in 2011 bar exams
  5. Senator Pimentel backs German think tank’s stand vs dynasties
  6. Bar proctor suspended for photographing test papers
  7. Collector Danny Garcia says Inquirer worth more than news
  8. Meteor shower to light up PH skies
  9. What Went Before: Enrile denies Gigi Reyes was ‘other woman’
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  5. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  6. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  7. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  8. Massive infra spending set
  9. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  10. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia


  • Celebrating Easter and creativity in New York
  • Man wins half marathon, dies in Argentina
  • Clouds to bring slight relief from summer heat
  • Canadians rally to legalize marijuana
  • S. Korea ferry transcript reveals evacuation panic
  • Sports

  • Reigning champs Miami open playoffs with win
  • Spurs subdue Mavericks in playoff opener
  • Wawrinka beats Federer to win Monte Carlo Masters
  • Ageless Hopkins pitches 50-50 Mayweather deal
  • Goodbye MGM, Las Vegas for Pacquiao?
  • Lifestyle

  • Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Entertainment

  • ‘Captain America’ stays strong atop US box office
  • Easter musings
  • Solenn in shorts
  • Unmerry mix of attention-calling moves on ‘Mini-Me’ TV tilts
  • Persistence pays off for The 1975
  • Business

  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Bataan freeport investment pledges up 1,302%
  • Golden Week
  • Bourse to woo Cebu stock mart investors
  • Supper power
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • Search for Etihad passengers launched
  • Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • OFW died of Mers-CoV in Saudi Arabia, says family
  • Aquino, Obama to tackle US pivot to Asia during state visit
  • Marketplace