Mindoro oil spill's environmental damage may reach P7 billion— DENR | Inquirer News

Mindoro oil spill’s environmental damage may reach P7 billion— DENR

By: - Reporter / @JMangaluzINQ
/ 12:40 PM April 27, 2023

Oil leak continues 22 days after tanker submerged off Oriental Mindoro

FILE PHOTO: Together with an oil spill boom and skimmer, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) was around the suspected area of the sunken oil tanker MT Princess Empress at the northeast of Balingawan Port, Lucta Port, and Buloc Bay in Oriental Mindoro on March 14, 2023. (Photo from the Malayan Towage and Salvage Corp. via Philippine Coast Guard

MANILA, Philippines — The environmental damage caused by the Oriental Mindoro oil spill is approximately P7 billion, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Thursday.

“(P)7 billion is the potential damage,” said the DENR Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) in a message when asked about the Oriental Mindoro’s cost of damage.


“The total area extent of the three ecosystems (mangrove areas, seagrass beds, and coral reefs) that fall within the oil spill trajectories across the three provinces is estimated to hold an economic value of around (P) 7 billion,” it also said.


The agency added that the amount is not final.

“The actual value of the habitats affected by the spill will rely on ground validation, thorough habitat impact assessments and further economic valuation exercises,” said the DENR.

Excluding livelihood costs, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported agricultural losses of P3,882,090,459.74. DENR chief Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga said in an ANC Headstart interview that the agency is examining affected marine areas from the oil spill. She addressed criticisms regarding DENR’s slow response in seeking accountability from the oil tanker owners.

READ: Group to DENR on Oriental Mindoro oil spill: ‘Make tanker owners pay up’

According to her, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is the agency leading the charge for accountability.

“There is an inter-agency group, and that is led by the DOJ, so what we are able to do, as far as the DENR is concerned, is to submit our data to actually come up with that claim, so we are not the lead in actually filing the claim. It is the DOJ and an inter-agency group that is putting together all of these impacts, and they’re valuing it, and making that claim,” she said.


The DENR Secretary said they must supply fact-based evidence for the possible writ of kalikasan against oil spill culprits.

“We are left to actually work on the forensics: what is happening, where is the hazard going, what will be affected,” said the Environment chief.

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Loyzaga explained the DENR isn’t leading the inter-agency team due to the current government structure, with the Philippine Coast Guard operationally leading and the DOJ handling claims.

She emphasized DENR’s quiet groundwork. Oil tanker MT Princess Empress sank off the coast of Oriental Mindoro on February 28 with 800,000 liters of oil, causing extensive livelihood loss.


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TAGS: DENR, environmental impacts, Oriental Mindoro oil spill

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