Oil spill affects over 192,500 people in 4 provinces

The Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) reported that 192,500 individuals have been affected by the oil spill in 249 barangays across the provinces of Oriental Mindoro, Palawan, Antique, and Batangas.

According to OCD data, around 24,500 fishermen in coastal areas have lost their livelihood.

The MT Princess Empress sank on February 28, and its impact is still being felt to this day. Volunteers are currently trying to remove the oil that clung to the sea wall in the town of Pola, Oriental Mindoro, which greatly affected the residents’ livelihood.

Oriental Mindoro Governor Humerlito “Bonz” Dolor previously announced a fishing ban and prohibition of any activities in the affected towns due to the oil spill’s harmful effects on people’s health.

On May 8, Dolor lifted lifted the ban in seven towns in the province following the recommendation of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to help them recover after months of being idle. However, some towns still do not allow fishing as experts suggest that the oil spill content in their waters remains high.

The tourism sector is estimated to lose around P886 million in the next six months if the ban on water activities in the affected towns, which are primarily tourist destinations, continues.

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