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Oil spill damage to Pola has reached around P130M, says mayor

The municipality of Pola, Oriental Mindoro has already sustained an estimated damage of around P130 million due to the massive oil spill from the submerged MT Princess Empress.

“More or less nasa P130 million ang naapektuhan sa shoreline pa lang natin,” Pola Mayor Jennifer Cruz said in a public briefing on Monday.

(More or less, the damage was at P130 million and that’s merely the impact on the shoreline.)

Cruz said the situation in the coastal town has improved, with the traces of oil leaks now significantly reduced.

"Simula noong nagka-oil spill ang Pola, kung noon ay 100 percent, ngayon mga 60 to 70 percent na,” she added.

(From 100%, I can say it’s now between 60% to 70%.)

According to the mayor, at least 4,800 fisherfolk are affected by the ongoing fishing ban in the affected coastal communities.  

“Kasi noong unang bugso talaga ng oil, napakahirap namin. Noong unang three days, wala kaming katulong kung hindi iyong ating mga Bantay Dagat, fisherfolk, at naglinis ng dalampasigan; dumating lang sila mga after three or four days na,” Cruz said.

(During the early stage of the oil spill, it was really hard. No one assisted us in the first three days of the coastal cleanup except the fisherfolk, Bantay Dagat. Help only came after four days.)

Meanwhile, Cruz said that the number illness the number of fisherfolk under health monitoring has gone down.

“So talagang nagkasakit sila, nagkaroon ng respiratory problem. At ngayon ay tinututukan ng ating mga MHO (municipal health office) at doctor iyong 200 plus natin, more or less, 80 na lang ang under observation,” she added.

(Some of them got sick and had respiratory problems. Right now, the MHO is observing 80 individuals from the initial 200.)

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources over the weekend said some P441.25 million in income has been lost in 22 fishing days due to the Mindoro oil spill, with more than 26,000 fisherfolks directly affected as of March 31. They suffered P714 in daily income loss.

On Saturday, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. visited Oriental Mindoro and conducted an aerial inspection of the affected coastal communities, presided over a situation briefing with mayors, and distributed various forms of government assistance, including fishing boats, fish smoking machines, and relief packs.

MT Princess Empress was carrying 900,000 liters of industrial fuel oil when it sank due to strong waves on February 28. All 20 people on board were rescued. —VAL, GMA Integrated News