June 17, 2024

The Insider News

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US gov’t commits to help in Mindoro oil spill clean-up — DND chief

THE United States government has committed to help in the efforts to clean up the massive oil spill in Oriental Mindoro, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Tuesday.

In his update on the oil spill, Galvez reported to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. that he spoke with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and has committed to deploy naval units to help in the clean-up operation in the area.

“I had a phone call last night with Sec. Austin at 7:45 p.m. They are committed to help in coordination with Japan and other countries,” the DND chief said.

Galvez said Sec. Austin has assured the Philippine government that their Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) team “is now on their way to help and provide assistance in managing the oil spill.”

“In fact, as I’ve recommended, some of the exercise scenarios of the forthcoming ‘Balikatan’ Exercises will be ‘real life’ and actual HADR operations relative to the oil spill,” the DND official pointed out.

Galvez said the Philippine government will also continue to seek the expertise and technical support of other partner countries, such as France and the United Kingdom, in containing the oil spill in the island of Mindoro.

“As of yesterday, the oil spill has already affected 32,661 families in MIMAROPA and Western Visayas. Although a total of Php28.3 million worth of humanitarian assistance alone from the government, LGUs (local government units), non-governmental organizations, and other partners, was already provided to the affected families, we will sustain these assistance to them,” the DND chief noted.

In his report, Galvez also told the President that the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has already given a briefing on the foreigners who extended assistance to the government in the ongoing clean-up operation in Mindoro.

Meanwhile, Japanese salvage vessel Shin Nichi Maru, a remotely-operated vehicle (ROV), arrived at the port of Calapan in Oriental Mindoro on Monday. The ROV was immediately deployed in the area to help in the cleanup efforts.

Galvez noted that the Provincial Government of Oriental Mindoro has committed to provide daily subsistence needs (meals, medicines, and vitamins) of the PCG team conducting off shore oil spill control and provided the personal protective equipment (PPE).

He also said the Incident Management Team (IMT) reported to have required Harbor Star and consultants to present a concrete plan on the immediate and proper disposal of collected wastes.

On Monday, aboard BRP Bagacay, the team led by Oriental Mindoro Gov. Humerlito Dolor, PCG Commodore Geronimo Tuvilla and Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) Undersecretary Ariel Nepomuceno, proceeded to the identified site of the sunken MT Princess Empress to assess the current extent of the oil slick in the vicinity and surrounding area.

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.