PCG welcomes possible international help in oil spill clean-up

PCG welcomes possible international help in oil spill clean-up
Philippines Coast Guard personnel and volunteer residents of Brgy. Buhay na Tubig in Pola, Oriental Mindoro use absorbent pads to remove oil from rocks.
Philstar.com / EC Toledo IV

MANILA, Philippines — As the government moves to clean up after the sunken oil tanker in Oriental Mindoro, the Philippine Coast Guard said it is not impossible to get help from neighboring nations in completing the task. 

The statement comes after GMA Super Radyo DZBB anchor Arnold Clavio said in jest that China could lend help as Beijing has already occupied parts of the Philipipnes’ territorial waters and since they have the technology to assist in the the government.

“It’s not impossible,” PCG Spokesman Rear Admiral Armand Balilo said in Filipino, referring to a possible scenario where neighboring countries help out with the oil spill clean-up. “The issue of environmental protection is borderless. It is everyone’s responsibility to make sure that biodiversity areas are protected.”

Balilo also noted that the agency is also dealing with other issues, such as tensions in the West Philippine Sea as well as in deploying its a number of its personnel and using appropriate technology for the clean-up and so help from other nations would be appreciated. 

Earlier in March, Japan sent a team a disaster relief expert team to help in looking into the extent of damage of the oil spill and provide guidance on ongoing oil removal and control activities.

PCG Commandant Admiral Artemio Abu meanwhile said last March 11 that they wrote to the embassy of the United States to seek help in containing and cleaning up the oil spill.

The MT Princess Empress sank off the coast of Oriental Mindoro in the early hours of February 28 while it had 800,000 liters of industrial fuel. Environmental groups as well as affected local government units have already raised alarm on the possible effects of the oil spill both on the environment and in communities. 

Some of the fishermen whose livelihoods were affected have since joined clearing operations, which authorities have estimated will last some time between four months to up to a year. — Kaycee Valmonte

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