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Oriental Mindoro town under state of calamity due to oil spill

Pola town in Oriental Mindoro has been placed under state of calamity due to the oil spill from a sunken motor tanker off Naujan, Mayor Jennifer Cruz said Friday.

“Kagabi lang po pinatawag ko yung mga kapitan, declaration po namin ng state of calamity na (Just last night I gathered all barangay captains, we already declared state of calamity),” she told Dobol B TV in an interview.

According to Cruz, Pola is one of the most affected areas of the oil spill because the motor tanker Princess Empress sank near their boundary with Naujan.

She said their seawater and shoreline have turned black, and various species of fish had died.

“Talagang nangingitim na 'yung dagat namin at 'yung baybaying dagat namin (the seawater and shoreline have turned black),” Cruz said.

“Kapag umaalon makikita mo talaga 'yung dami ng oil spill, ng langis. May mga namamatay na rin pong isda…Nalulungkot nga po kasi yung white sand namin, black sand na po,” she added.

(You can see the oil spill in the waves. Fish were dying. Our white sand is now black sand.)

According to her, the livelihood of fishermen is affected as she has prohibited fishing in the town due to the health risk of the oil spill.

She also prohibited swimming in the affected waters.

The Philippine Coast Guard on Thursday confirmed that the oil spotted in the area where the motor tanker sank came from the industrial fuel oil the vessel was carrying and not just diesel fuel as earlier reported.

MT Princess Empress was carrying 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil when it sank due to strong waves. All the 20 people on board were rescued.

According to the PCG, the motor tanker sank 400 meters into the ocean, which was too deep for divers to reach. —KBK, GMA Integrated News