About 172,928 individuals or more than 36,658 families have been affected by the oil spill in Oriental Mindoro, according to the latest situational report issued by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center (NDRRMC).
In the same report, the NDRRMC said those affected are from the MIMAROPA (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) region with 138,043; Western Visayas with 27,145; and Calabarzon (Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Quezon, and Rizal) with 7,740.
The NDRRMC said the oil spill also caused injuries to at least 206 persons.
The oil spill also caused an estimated P3,850,500 damage to agriculture and affected the livelihood of 13,654 farmers and fisherfolk.
So far, four provinces, 14 cities/municipalities and 163 villages (barangay) have felt the impact of the massive oil spill caused by the sinking of the MT Princess Empress, which carried around 800,000 liters of industrial fuel.
Assistance provided to communities affected by the oil spill has reached P136.5 million.
Meanwhile, former Presidential spokesman Harry Roque has criticized the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), particularly its commandant Admiral Artemio Aby, for the alleged failure to lead the operations in immediately containing the oil slick following the sinking of the oil tanker.
“Authorities should have enough knowledge about incidents like this oil spill,” Roque said in an interview over the weekend. “Why is it that they [the PCG and Admiral Abu] have no knowledge about tapping certain remedies that could have prevented the oil spill from spreading.”
He cited the agreement known as the Tanker Owners Voluntary Agreement concerning Liability for Oil Pollution (TOVALOP) which originated from the determination of certain tanker owners to take constructive action with respect to oil pollution or oil spill. It is an agreement to ensure that compensation was available to those affected by oil pollution.
“Not knowing such an available remedy is gross ignorance of the law that is resulting in widespread and long-lasting damage to the environment,” Roque said.
He said Abu and the PCG do not need to ask for assistance from other countries because the needed funds to address such incidents are available.
“There is already an institutional fund response. All they have to do is to tap TOVALOP,” said Roque.
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