61 tourist sites affected by massive oil spill in Oriental Mindoro—DOT

At a glance


The massive oil spill in Oriental Mindoro has so far affected 61 tourist sites, including beach resorts, Tourism Secretary Christina G. Frasco bared during the Tourism Stakeholders’ National Summit in Manila on Wednesday, March 15.

Earlier, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said that destinations in Oriental Mindoro and nearby provinces have been affected by the oil spill caused by the sinking of the motor tanker (MT) Princess Empress in the coast of Naujan, Oriental Mindoro on Feb. 28. It was reportedly carrying 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil as cargo.

“There are 61 [tourism] sites that are affected in Oriental Mindoro, and several beach resorts that have been negatively affected,” Frasco told reporters in an ambush interview.

“Our regional offices have been in very close collaboration and coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the [Philippine] Coast Guard (PCG), as well as our local government unit, and other relevant government agencies,” she added.

With this blow to the tourism industry, Frasco said the DOT will aid tourism workers whose livelihood have been badly affected by the oil spill.

“It is an ongoing collaborative effort to manage the situation that is led by the DENR, and we are here to assist our tourism workers,” she said.

Zeny C. Pallugna, regional director of DOT-MIMAROPA (Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan), said that Mindoro is still open for tourists, saying they still have many land-based attractions despite of the oil spill.

“We still have a lot of tourist attractions in the area and I would like to emphasize as well that the heart and soul of our tourism attraction in Oriental Mindoro is Puerto Galera, and we are still open for business,” she said.

In her earlier statement, Frasco said the “DOT notes with seriousness the oil spill incident and its grave impact on the tourism industry, including disruptions in the livelihood of the affected communities, tourism-dependent businesses, and recreational activities.”

"Scuba diving, beach, and cruise tourism depend on the region’s coastal resources, and are also its major tourism products. If unmitigated, the oil spill can have adverse impacts on three of the world-class dive destinations in the Philippines, specifically the Verde Island passage and Apo Reef in Mindoro, and Coron’s World War II Wrecks and Philippine Dugong," she continued.

Based on the information gathered by the agency, the oil spill has affected several Marine Protected Areas in the Municipality of Pola in Oriental Mindoro, such as the KingFisher Reserve, St. John the Baptist Marine Sanctuary, Song of the Sea Fish Sanctuary, Stella Mariz Fish Sanctuary, Bacawan Fish Sanctuary, St. Peter the Rock Fish Sanctuary, and the San Isidro Labrador Fish Sanctuary.

Beach resorts such as Bihiya Beach, 3 Cottage, Long Beach K. I, Aguada Beach Resort, Oloroso Beach Resort, Munting Buhangin Tagumpay Beach Resort, and Buhay na Tubig White Beach Resort in Oriental Mindoro have also been affected.