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PCG sends letter seeking US help in Mindoro oil spill cleanup

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has formalized the Philippine government’s intent to seek the assistance of the United States government in containing and cleaning up the oil spill in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro.

“I’ve sent a letter to the Embassy of the United States… na nangangailangan tayo ng tulong,” PCG Commandant Admiral Artemio Abu said during the Saturday News Forum in Quezon City.

Abu said the letter was “generic” and contains the Philippines’ intent to receive any kind of help from the US government in addressing the oil spill problem.

“Kung ano ang tulong na ibibigay nila, [kung] response equipment... everything. Kung ano ang sa aabot ng kanilang kakayahan na maibibigay sa atin. They know it kung ano ang ating kailangan sa panahon na ito," the PCG chief said.

“They have more experience and knowledge in this issue. It's just a matter of making known to them that we are asking assistance from them," he added.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) earlier said it was eyeing to seek the help of 2023 Balikatan exercise participants in the cleanup of areas affected by the oil spill in Naujan.

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 in the security and defense sectors.

On February 28, the motor tanker Princess Empress carrying 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil, sank in heavy seas off the coast of Naujan town.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. hoped that containing and cleaning the oil spill in the province would not last for months.

“Four months na tapusin ang clean up operation,” Abu said, noting the directive of the President.

“We are doing everything to address this the soonest possible time. Have it contained, cleaned up at the soonest possible time,” he said. — DVM, GMA Integrated News