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Mindoro oil spill affected locals to receive alternative livelihood training

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) on Tuesday said it planned to provide the more than 2,000 oil spill affected fisherfolk of Oriental Mindoro with alternative livelihood training.

The TESDA said 2,900 residents in the municipalities of Naujan, Pola, Pinamalayan, Gloria, Bansud, Bongabong, Roxas, Mansalay, and Bulalacao in Oriental Mindoro would undergo various training programs.

The programs include training in oil spill response, meat and fish processing, bread making, hog raising, dressmaking, motorcycle-small engine system servicing, small engine repair, pastry making, and sugar concentration, among others.

The training programs would be provided in coordination with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

TESDA Director General Danilo Cruz said the programs could also be a path to permanent employment.

“Hindi lang temporary employment ang ibinibigay ng DOLE, may component ‘yan na training. Bago ang temporary employment, kailangan ma-train din ang ating mga kababayan sapagkat after ng temporary employment, kailangan nilang magkaroon ng permanenteng trabaho,” he said in a statement.

(The DOLE does not only provide temporary employment, it has a training component. Before temporary employment, our fellow Filipinos must also be trained because after the temporary employment, they must have a permanent job.)

“TESDA is here to provide relevant training programs as part of the collective action to support the upskilling and reskilling of displaced workers and ensure the well-being of all affected Filipinos,” he added.

The source of the oil spill off Oriental Mindoro was the MT Princess Empress, which was carrying 900,000 liters of industrial fuel oil when it sank due to strong waves on February 28.

According to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), the motor tanker sank 400 meters into the ocean - too deep for divers to reach.

Meanwhile, Center for Environmental Concerns Philippines (CEC) Research Coordinator Jordan Fronda said some residents have said the impact of the oil spill was worse than that of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CEC said 98% of the affected residents have already received aid, but 81.5% of them said the assistance was insufficient. About 95% said they needed financial assistance to support the education of their children.

The Maritime Industry Authority earlier said it had filed formal administrative charges against the owner of the Princess Empress. — DVM, GMA Integrated News