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Hontiveros: PCG, MARINA should be accountable for Mindoro oil spill

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Maritime Industry Authority should be held accountable for “undeniable” negligence and nonfeasance in the case of sunken MT Princess Empress which caused massive oil spill in Oriental Mindoro.

Senate Deputy Minority Leader Risa Hontiveros made the statement on Friday following Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla’s statement that the sunken ship was a “rebuilt scrap.”

“PCG officials who directly allowed this ‘scrap ship’ to depart from Bataan on February 27, 2023 - despite not meeting all requirements in the PCG’s own pre-departure checklist - should face the full brunt of the law. They should answer not only for this incident, but also for the alleged eight other times that the scrap ship had been allowed to sail,” Hontiveros said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Hontiveros said MARINA officials who allowed to ship to operate despite it not being “seaworthy” should also be held liable if the reported 50-year old ship was not refurbished according to standards.

Likewise, Hontiveros mentioned the need to confirm whether or not the certificate of public convenience (CPC) of RDC Reield Marine Services was duly amended to include MT Princess Empress.

“I trust that the Senate Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change will be able to ensure that the officials responsible for this environmental nightmare will be held to account for their actions,” she said.

GMA News Online sought the side of PCG and MARINA and will post their responses once available.

Meanwhile, Senator Robin Padilla in an online interview said that a Senate blue ribbon probe should be launched.

The MT Princess Empress sank on February 28 off Najuan. The PCG said on Thursday that it was carrying 900,000 liters of industrial fuel oil and not 800,000 as previously reported.

Almost 100,000 residents in the province have already been affected by the oil spill.

Approximately 591 hectares of coral reefs, 1,626 hectares of mangroves, and 362 hectares of seagrass or seaweeds could meanwhile be potentially affected by the effects of the oil spill, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.—LDF, GMA Integrated News