Senator Cynthia Villar has sought a Senate investigation on the oil spill from the sunken tanker MT Princess Empress that has been causing surmounting damages to the marine ecosystem and biodiversity, among others.
Villar filed Senate Resolution 537 directing the Senate committee on environment, natural resources and climate change to conduct, in aid of legislation, a probe on the escalating adverse effects of oil spill from the said tank ship which sank off the coast of Nauajan, Oriental Mindoro last February 28.
While reports said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Philippine Coast Guard and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) have assessed the oil spill incident, the veteran legislator pointed out no concrete action to contain it has been initiated.
The seasoned lawmaker cited urgent calls by the local government units concerned, the people affected and environmentalists for the government to act swiftly to contain the old spill and avoid further damage to the environment, livelihood and health of the people, and the tourism industry.
“The oil spill can possibly affect over 36,000 hectares of coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass across Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Palawan and Antique.”
The lady senator noted reports by University of the Philippines-Marine Science Institute experts which said the oil spill can possibly affect over 36,000 hectares of coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass across Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Palawan and Antique.
According to the chair of the Senate committee on environment and natural resources, the oil spill also threatens the marine biodiversity of the Verde Island Passage, considered by scientists as the center of the world’s marine biodiversity. There were already findings of dead fishes, marine life and sea birds.
“The oil spill has likewise affected the tourist destinations in Oriental Mindoro, such as the Bihiya Beach, 3 Cottage, Long Beach K. I, Aguada Beach Resort, Oloroso Beach Resort, Munting Buhangin Tagumpay Beach Resort, and Buhay na Tubig White Beach Resort in Oriental Mindoro, and even threatens to affect Boracay, the country’s premiere tourist destination,” she said.
“Apart from the environmental damage to the marine ecosystem, biodiversity, fisheries and tourism, the livelihood and health of the people in the area are already adversely affected by the said oil spill,” Villar added.
“Nine out of the 13 towns in Oriental Mindoro have been affected by the oil spill while 10,362 families or 48,885 people were affected.”
Based on the monitoring report of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), nine out of the 13 towns in Oriental Mindoro have been affected by the oil spill while 10,362 families or 48,885 people were affected.
The tank ship was traversing the route from Limay, Bataan to Iloilo, carrying around 800,000 liters of industrial fuel when it encountered rough sea conditions and engine trouble that resulted in the ship’s sinking.