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Philippines to seek Japan’s help to contain Mindoro oil spill

The Philippines will be seeking Japan’s help in containing the further spread of an oil spill in Oriental Mindoro, Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said Saturday.

“Siguro ay hihingi kami ng tulong sa Japanese government dahil nabanggit sa akin na malaki ang kakayahan ng Japanese government na matulungan tayo para hindi masyadong kumalat ang oil spill na ito sa ating islands sa Mindoro,” Bautista said during the Saturday News Forum in Quezon City.
(We may seek help from the Japanese government because I was told they have the capability to help us contain the rapidly spreading oil spill on our islands in Mindoro.)
Bautista said the discussions with the Japanese Embassy and the Japan International Cooperation Agency will start on Monday, March 6.
The Philippine Coast Guard, an attached agency of the Department of Transportation, reported that the oil spill, which was caused by the sinking of the motor tanker MT Princess Empress off Naujan town earlier this week, has already reached the municipality of Caluya in Antique.
The PCG said the oil spill was monitored along the shores of the following barangays in Caluya town:
* Sitio Sabang, Barangay Tinogboc (1 kilometer)
* Liwagao Island, Barangay Sibolo (2 km)
* Sitio Tambak, Barangay Semirara (2 km)
MT Princess Empress was carrying 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil when it sank due to strong waves on February 28.
The PCG has already deployed divers and marine experts to aid in the containment operation and installed an oil spill boom to prevent further spread.
Authorities are still investigating the cause of the vessel's sinking.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources said on Friday that more than 2,000 hectares of coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass can be potentially affected by the oil spill. — VBL, GMA Integrated News