Marcos vows to expedite oil spill cleanup in Mindoro

At a glance

  • President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. hopes oil spill cleanup in Mindoro will not take more than four months.

  • Marcos said the government is ready to provide aid to affected residents through the "cash-for-work" program.

  • Photo from Presidential Communications Office

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has high hopes that the ongoing clean-up drive for the oil spill in Oriental Mindoro will not take longer than usual because of its negative impact to the livelihood of fisherfolk there.

In a media interview in Quezon City on Wednesday, March 8, Marcos noted the 2006 oil spill that took place in Guimaras, which required a massive cleanup for four months.

“Hopefully, kung hindi kaya ng one month, hopefully less. Kasi ‘yung Guimaras na oil spill apat na buwan bago na-cleanup (Hopefully, if the cleanup can’t be done in one month, hopefully we can finish it in less than four months. Because the oil spill in Guimaras took four months),” he told reporters.

Marcos vowed the government will expedite the cleanup, citing the less volume of oil spill in the waters of Mindoro. 

“Siguro naman this time kasi mas bawas nang kaunti ang oil spill ay mas mabibilisan natin. Kahit na hindi sa isang buwan, hindi naman siguro natin paabutin ng apat na buwan (Maybe this time, since the oil spill is lesser, we can do it faster. Even it’s not possible in a month, maybe we will not allow it take four months),” he added.

Motor tanker Princess Empress was carrying 800,000 liters of industrial oil when it sank in the waters off Balingawan Point in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro due to strong waves on Feb. 28.

The sinking of the vessel led to the oil spill affecting some tourist spots as well as fishing sanctuaries and maritime resouces in it, such as coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass. 

Marcos said he directed the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to provide aid through a “cash-for-work” program to help them recover from the incident.

“’Yung mga mangingisda hindi makapangisda ngayon, bawal mangisda. At kaya’t wala silang hanapbuhay, pinalitan natin ng cash-for-work program dahil sila ngayon ang maglilinis (Fishermen can’t fish now that’s why they have no livelihood, we have a cash-for-work program for them since they will help in the cleanup),” he said.

“Pag natapos na ‘yun pwede na silang mangisda ulit, pwede silang bumalik sa trabaho nila (If it’s finished, they can go back to fishing, they can go back to their work),” the President added.

The Chief Executive said the government is monitoring closely the situation if the oil spill will further reach fishing sanctuaries and tourist areas.

Marcos said private corporations and even the Japan government have provided assistance and equipment to help with the cleanup.