Palace: Oil spill-hit areas receive over P43-M aid
MANILA, Philippines — The national government and the private sector have provided more than P43 million worth of assistance to 74 areas in Regions 4-B (Mimaropa) and 6 (Western Visayas) affected by the oil spill in Oriental Mindoro.
The Presidential Communications Office (PCO) on Thursday said Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. reported this to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.,
Galvez said a total of P43.35 million worth of assistance had been provided to these areas from the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health (DOH), local government units (LGUs) and non-government organizations (NGOs).
Oil tanker MT Princess Empress sank last month, resulting in thick industrial fuel oil spillage.
It is 389.1 meters below sea level and 13.89 kilometers northeast of Balingawan Point of Pola, Mindoro.
Galvez also reported that 31,497 families or 143,713 individuals were affected in 122 barangays, while the livelihood of 13,654 fishermen was also affected.
Meanwhile, at least 169 individuals were reported to have fallen ill due to the oil spill.
A state of calamity has been declared in the towns of Bansud, Bongabong, Bulalacao, Gloria, Mansalay, Naujan, Pinamalayan, Pola, Roxas in Oriental Mindoro and Caluya, Antique.
Galvez noted that 894 sacks of oil – contaminated debris and 77.5 drums of waste for treatment were collected during the continuous clean-up activities.
President Marcos earlier instructed concerned government agencies to intensify the oil spill cleanup operations and assured affected communities that the government would extend assistance, particularly through the cash-for-work program.
The PCO said that experts and coast guard units from other countries have also offered and extended assistance in containing the oil spill.
It added that a response team with a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) from Japan is expected to arrive on March 20 to help in the cleanup efforts.
“The task force managing the oil spill in MIMAROPA in collaboration with the LGU of Oriental Mindoro shall coordinate with the Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Immigration and Bureau of Quarantine to expedite the entry of the incoming response team with Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) from Japan to arrive the country on March 20,” Galvez said, as quoted by the PCO.
The PCO said Malayan Salvage and Towing Corporation, a private company also contracted by the insurance firm of the owner of the shipping company, supports offshore oil containment.
According to Galvez, the Philippine Coast Guard will simultaneously look for an alternative ROV from a local source to detect and recover the oil spill source.
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