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PCG open to Chinese help in Mindoro oil spill cleanup

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said it was open to receiving assistance from China in containing and cleaning up the oil spill in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro.

“Alam niyo, tayong mga Pilipino ay iisa ang kaugalian. Eh kapag nangangailangan at marami ang gustong tumulong sino ba ang tumatanggi sa tulong o assistance na ibinibigay sa atin?” PCG Commandant Admiral Artemio Abu said during the Saturday News Forum in Quezon City.

The PCG chief was asked if the Coast Guard was open to receiving any help from the Chinese government since their vessels were still in the country’s territorial sea.

“Wala pa pong nag offer galing sa kanila [China],” Abu said.

Chinese maritime militia vessels were still spotted in and around Pag-asa Island and the Sabina Shoal.

However, the PCG said the number of suspected Chinese maritime militia vessels observed around Pag-asa Island decreased from 42 last week to 15 on March 8, 2023.

Over the Sabina Shoal, the PCG monitored a decrease in the number of Chinese vessels to 17 on March 8, 2023 from 26 two weeks ago.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) earlier said it was considering seeking help from 2023 Balikatan exercise participants in the cleanup of areas affected by the oil spill in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro.

The Philippines-United States Balikatan exercise is one of the long-standing mutual engagements between the two countries, which has paved the way for enhanced cooperation when it comes to the security and defense sector.

Aside from tapping Balikatan participants, the DENR said Japan and South Korea have already expressed their intention to help in containing the oil spill. — DVM, GMA Integrated News