Authorities have cleaned up 84.26 percent of all the coastline affected by the oil spill in the past two months, with the national government now focusing on programs and strategies to address the impact of the tragedy.
In a statement, the National Task Force on Oil Spill Management said one of the strategies being pursued is to assist all the affected families, particularly fishing communities in Oriental Mindoro and nearby areas.
Initially, it reported that a total of P430 million worth of assistance have already been downloaded through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) via the distribution of family food packs and non-food items, as well as ither programs that include
Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS), Emergency Cash Transfer (ECT), and Cash for Work (CFW).
The Department of Enviroment and Natural Resources (DENR), on the other hand, reported that a total of P517 million worth of early recovery assistance was distributed to 96,256 various beneficiaries in Regions 4A (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon), 4B (Mindoro Oriental and Occidental, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) and Region 6, or Western Visayas.
As of May 11, the National Task Force on Oil Spill Management said the oil spill has affected a total of 40,733 families in the three regions.
The oil spill started when an oil tanker loaded with more than 800,000 liters of industrial oil sank off the waters of Naujan town in Oriental Mindoro on Feb. 28.
The task force also revealed that there is only 15.74 percent affected by the oil spill that are yet to be cleaned by the Philippine Coast Guard.
“The Philippine Coast Guard reported that as of May 10, the estimated total length of coastline “acceptably” cleaned is now at 84.26% with the remaining length of affected coastline at 15.74.%,” the statement read.
The PCG strategy is divided in two three phases: removal of bulk oil or floating oil, removal of remaining attached oil, and final polishing.
As a way forward, joint shoreline surveys and activities with DENR, and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR); the collaboration with contracted oil waste collectors, other countries and international parties; and aggressive offshore containment and recovery operations will continue,” the PCG reported in its meeting with the task force on Thursday, May 11, at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
Water quality monitoring
To continuously caution the communities on the dangers of the spill, the Department of Health has been conducting surveillance of drinking water resources and exposed individuals to chemical hazards along with the release of public health advisories.
“Health assessments will continue to be conducted by the Centers for Health Development on the affected population along with the monitoring of the latest situation, status of response operations, and possible assistance from the DOH Central Office.,” the statement read.
“The DENR is also conducting water quality monitoring and waste management activities. Monitored shorelines have improved in terms of water quality, the department reported,” it added.
The DENR together with concerned agencies will also conduct a scientific conference this June to harmonize assessment methods and Post Disaster Needs Assessment, and provide technical information on environmental impact assessment.
Meanwhile, fishing bans in Clusters 4 and 5 in Oriental Mindoro have been lifted according to the latest report of BFAR.