Senate probe of Oriental Mindoro oil spill begins
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate commenced on Tuesday its investigation into the oil spill that started off the coast of Oriental Mindoro.
The Senate committee on environment, natural resources, and climate change, presided by Senator Cynthia Villar, tackled Senate Resolution No. 537 and 538 as well as the privilege speech of Senator Francis Tolentino on the oil leak incident.
The resolutions are seeking to look into the damage and other effects that the oil spill brought to the province and its residents.
“It is an understatement to say that this is distressing news for the country. For one, this oil spill incident is a setback on our ongoing efforts to strengthen our ecosystem and mend our fragile biodiversity while we are undergoing the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration from 2021 to 2030,” Villar said during the hearing.
“Time is of the essence in order to avert further and irreparable damages,” she went on.
An oil spill ensued in Oriental Mindoro on February 28 as MT Princess Empress, a tanker with 800,000 liters of industrial fuel, submerged off the coast of Naujan town.
READ: Oil spill ensues after vessel carrying 800,000 liters of oil sinks in Oriental Mindoro
At least 77 coastal villages were declared under a state of calamity after the incident.
READ: Legarda wants ‘whole-of-government’ action to Oriental Mindoro oil spill
Meanwhile, residents affected by the oil spill reached 19,000.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development said that residents, especially fishers and the poorest of the poor, will be eligible for a cash-for-work program to sustain them amid the harsh impacts of the incident.
READ: Cash-for-work program for oil spill affected residents to start March 15
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