THE national government has cleaned up over 84 percent of the coastline affected by the oil spill in Mindoro, Defense Senior Undersecretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Friday.
In an update to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., Galvez reported that of the 74.71 kilometers of affected coastline, 62.95 kilometers, or 84.26 percent, has been cleaned as of May 10, 2023. The defense official was quoting the results of the meeting with the National Task Force (NTF) and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) last Thursday.
Based on the 15th technical report of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Clusters 4 and 5, which include the municipalities of Bongabong, Roxas, Mansalay, Bulalacao, San Teodoro, Baco, and Puerto Galera, are now within acceptable standards for fishing activities.
Clusters 1, 2, and 3, which are within the vicinity of the submerged ship, on the other hand, are still not safe for fishing.
Galvez said the OCD recorded a total of 6,801 liters of oil waste and 300,603.60 liters of oil-contaminated waste that have been collected through the combined efforts of various agencies and organizations.
The OCD also reported the arrival of a siphoning vessel from Singapore is expected by the end of the month while oil removal operations are set to begin in the first week of June, which is estimated to last for 30 days.
In his visit to Oriental Mindoro last month, President Marcos directed the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to coordinate with local officials to designate alternative fishing areas.
Meanwhile, Galvez said the Marcos administration has provided a total of Php516,873,483 worth of early recovery assistance to 96,256 residents affected by the oil spill in the province.
Galvez also told the President that the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is expected to release the water test results and its corresponding advisory not later than May 15.
The Defense official also noted the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau will plot water quality test sites on a map for visualization while the Department of Tourism and P&I Correspondent Aqueous Inc. will determine the number of insurance claimants under the tourism industry.
The National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Trade and Industry, and the Department of Labor and Employment will identify alternative livelihood for the affected population, Galvez added.
In March, Japanese salvage vessel Shin Nichi Maru, a remotely-operated vehicle (ROV), arrived at the port of Calapan in Oriental Mindoro and was immediately deployed in the area to help in the cleanup efforts.
Experts and coast guards from other countries also offered assistance in containing the oil spill.
The MT Princess Empress was reported to contain around 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil when it ran aground off Naujan, Oriental Mindoro on Feb. 28 due to engine trouble and eventually sank the following day.