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PCG: No more traces of oil spill off Batangas waters

BATANGAS CITY (PIA) — The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Batangas said that the waters off Verde Island and Tingloy town no longer show traces of oil spill from the sinking of MT Princess Empress in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro last February.

Captain Victorino Ronaldo Acosta IV, PCG Batangas Commander, confirmed the absence of any oil spill in the surrounding areas, particularly in the six villages of Verde Island and Tingloy, during a recent meeting with the Batangas Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO).

The PCG and Batangas PDRRMO conducted a final survey and inspection this month leading to the termination of oil spill response efforts in the affected areas.

The MT Princess, carrying 900,000 liters of industrial fuel, capsized and sank in the waters off Naujan, Oriental Mindoro on February 28, 2023. The resulting oil spill and oil slick affected the coastlines of Oriental Mindoro, Palawan, Antique, and Batangas.

Acosta recognized the efforts of various national and local agencies, as well as private sectors, for their swift response and effective resolution of the oil spill incident.

“The combined efforts of all national and local agencies, including private sectors, have greatly contributed to the successful resolution of the oil spill incident. One of our primary concerns was the protection of the marine biodiversity in Batangas, especially in Verde Island, considered the center of marine biodiversity in the world," said Acosta.

Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas also thanked local government units (LGUs) and national agencies for their efforts in resolving the oil spill incident, citing their invaluable contributions to the resolution of the issue.

The Batangas City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, acting as the logistics coordinator, aided in the transportation of relief goods to the affected residents and provided additional workforce to the PCG in cleaning up Verde Island.

The local government and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) extended food assistance to affected families in the six barangays of Verde Island.

Nora Marasigan from the Batangas City Social Welfare and Development Office said cash-for-work program was implemented benefitting at least 1,600 families across the affected barangays. The tasks assigned to beneficiaries included shoreline cleanup, coco husk production to prevent oil spills, and gardening as an alternative food source for the community. Each beneficiary received P7,050 for 15 days of community work.

In Tingloy town, the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office implemented proactive measures, such as pre-disaster risk analysis, community involvement in creating artificial spill booms, and collaboration with the PCG and Pure Oceans, a private company with resources for oil spill cleanup operations.

The Tingloy local government also supported around 2,000 affected fisherfolk by distributing relief goods. They have also sought assistance from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) through the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged / Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program.

Herbert Dumaol, Tingloy MDRRM Officer, noted that at least four barangays namely: Pisa, Corona, San Isidro, and Gamao, experienced issues related to the oil spill.

Water quality assessments, spearheaded by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, are underway in Verde Island and Tingloy to evaluate the impact of the oil spill on aquatic life and human health. (Bhaby De Castro, PIA Batangas)

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Patricia Bermudez


Region 4A

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