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Oil spill stirs up bayanihan spirit among gov't agencies, fisherfolk

The oil spill in marine areas spanning four coastal towns in Oriental Mindoro has drawn together local fishers, concerned government agencies, and local government units to act with urgency to contain the spread of the pollutant.

GMA News' Unang Balita reported early Friday morning that fishermen in Barangay Tagumpay in the town of Pola placed dried coconut leaves along the coast to serve as booms to contain the spread of the oil spill.

The vicinity waters of Pola, Naujan, Pinamalayan and Bongabong were earlier tagged by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) as exclusion zones due to the oil spill from the sunken MT Princess Empress loaded with 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil.

Rico Mendez, one of the several fishermen in Pola who responded to the environmental emergency said, "We are taking extra care of our barangay's marine environment because it is home to several protected areas."


Local fishers fear their fishing ground has already been impacted by the oil spill, poisoning the fish and other marine life. They showed the thick, dark and stinking mud of oil they gathered from their cleanup operation.

Elsewhere around the four areas tagged as "exclusion zones," the PCG was conducting  cleanup operation using oil spill siphoning equipment, according to Unang Balita.

Also the report said that the PCG has already conducted a mission to spray the affected vicinity waters with oil spill chemical dispersant, and appealed to residents to stay away from contaminated shorelines.

Affected local government units were also asked to cordon off the areas impacted by the oil spill.

PCG's Marine Environment Protection Unit had collected a bulk of sticky, black, and stinking oil residues from the area were the motor oil tanker sank off  Naujan town on February 28, according to Unang Balita.

Earlier, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) created a task force to focus on the oil spill.

"Hasten the cleanup to prevent further impact on coastal and marine biodiversity, especially as well, on the livelihoods of local communities," Secretary Toni Yulo-Loyzaga said. —LBG, GMA Integrated News