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Nearly 31,500 families affected by Oriental Mindoro oil spill — OCD

A total of 31,497 families in MIMAROPA and Western Visayas were affected by the oil spill from a sunken motor tanker in Oriental Mindoro, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said on Wednesday.

“The oil spill has already affected 31,497 families in MIMAROPA and Western Visayas. Livelihood of 13,654 farmers and fishermen was also affected by the oil leakage,” the OCD said in a statement.

As of Tuesday, the OCD said a total of P23.9 million worth of assistance, coming from the government and non-government organizations, has been provided to the affected residents.

Member agencies of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and local governments held a meeting on Wednesday to discuss response operations for the oil spill.

Through the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) TUPAD, cash for work financial assistance is provided for the oil spill victims.

Clusters for logistics, food and non-food items, health, as well as for search, rescue, and retrieval operations were already activated, the OCD said.

A vessel from Japan is expected to arrive in the country to help the response operations, according to the OCD.

The government of Japan recently sent its Coast Guard personnel and equipment to help manage the incident, it added.

Motor tanker Princess Empress was carrying 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil when it sank due to strong waves on February 28. All 20 people on board were rescued.

The PCG said the motor tanker sank 400 meters into the ocean, which was too deep for divers to reach.

Oriental Mindoro Governor Humerlito Dolor earlier said that almost 100,000 residents in the province have now been affected by the oil spill.

Dolor added that 122 residents in the province became sick because of the effects of the oil spill. Some of them had respiratory-related symptoms, while others experienced vomiting and diarrhea.

He said only 13 out of the 77 areas declared under state of calamity have direct contact with the spill.

Citing the projection of the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UPMSI), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Sunday said the oil spill could reach northern Palawan mainland and threaten over 36,000 hectares of marine habitats.—Joviland Rita/AOL, GMA Integrated News