Panay News

Senate probe on Oriental Mindoro oil spill begins

- (Daniza Fernandez © Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA — 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.

At least 77 coastal villages were declared under a state of calamity after the incident.

The oil spill has likewise reached other provinces including Antique and Palawan.

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.

 ?? ?? DESERTED. Fishing boats are left idle along the shoreline of Pola, Oriental Mindoro in this photo taken on Thursday, March 9, 2023, following the widespread oil spill that affects the livelihood of local fishermen.
DESERTED. Fishing boats are left idle along the shoreline of Pola, Oriental Mindoro in this photo taken on Thursday, March 9, 2023, following the widespread oil spill that affects the livelihood of local fishermen.

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