‘Oil, grease still found in Oriental Mindoro waters’

Bella Cariaso - The Philippine Star
�Oil, grease still found in Oriental Mindoro waters�
The Naujan, Oriental Mindoro oil spill has already reached Caluya, Antique, according to reports by the Philippine Coast Guard, March 4, 2023.
Released / Philippine Coast Guard

MANILA, Philippines — High concentrations of oil and grease remain off the coast of several towns in Oriental Mindoro a year after the motor tanker Princess Empress sank, according to an environmental group.

In a radio interview, Protect VIP lead convenor Fr. Edwin Gariguez contradicted the claim of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that the areas hit by an oil spill have been cleaned.

“The problem is not yet over,” Gariguez said. ”It was determined that the concentrations of oil and grease in marine protected areas in Pola and Pinamalayan, the ground zero of the sunken ship, are still high.”

He said traces of oil and grease were also found in Naujan, Calapan and Mansalay.

“We are asking (the DENR) to conduct an impact study. It was the DENR that said the environmental damage of the oil spill could reach P7 billion, but no rehabilitation is being done,” Gariguez said.

He also questioned the minimal compensation given to affected fishermen.

Gariguez said various activities would be held on Feb. 28 to commemorate the first anniversary of the tragedy.

He said Protect VIP reiterates its call to protect the Verde Island Passage where Princess Empress sank.

The VIP is the body of water between Batangas and Mindoro, the center of marine biodiversity.

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