Oriental Mindoro oil spill

Oriental Mindoro governor laments oil spill’s impact on marine biodiversity 

Dwight de Leon

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Oriental Mindoro governor laments oil spill’s impact on marine biodiversity 

DISHEARTENED. Oriental Mindoro Governor Bonz Dolor expresses dismay on March 4, 2023, over an oil spill that threatens the marine biodiversity of his province.

Arjay Cleofe/PonD News Asia

Oriental Mindoro Governor Bonz Dolor says the industrial oil that leaked into the sea poses a threat on the province's fishing industry

ORIENTAL MINDORO, Philippines – Oriental Mindoro Governor Bonz Dolor could not hide his dismay over the potential long-term impacts of an oil spill on the province’s marine protected areas.

In an ambush interview with reporters on Saturday, March 4, Dolor said the industrial oil that leaked into the sea poses a threat to their fishing industry.

The spill has spread to 10 towns in Oriental Mindoro and has put at risk more than 30 marine protected areas. (READ: Oriental Mindoro oil spill threatens Philippine, global diversity)

“These [marine protected areas] are breeding grounds. If these are affected, the source of fish would also be affected, causing an effect on the market chain,” he said. “Production-wise, there’s also a problem, so we would need to import fish from the outside, when we used to send fish outside of Mindoro.”

“It took us more than 10 years to take care of these marine protected areas [and be recognized] as outstanding [on a national scale],” he added.

HELP IS HERE. Oriental Mindoro Governor Bonz Dolor addresses residents of Pola town, where residents are grappling with the consequences of an oil spill. Photo courtesy of Arjay Cleofe/PonD News Asia.
RELIEF. Oriental Mindoro Governor Bonz Dolor (in green), Pola Mayor Jennifer ‘Ina Alegre’ Cruz, and Social Welfare chief Rex Gatchalian distribute food packs to residents affected by the oil spill on March 4, 2023. Photo courtesy of Arjay Cleofe/PonD News Asia.

Dolor feared that the oil spill would result in billions of pesos in damage that is detrimental to the national economy.

The oil spill occurred after MT Princess Empress capsized off Tablas Strait in Balingawan Point, Naujan, Oriental Mindoro on February 28.

All 20 people aboard the ship were rescued, but the ship sunk with 800,000 liters of industrial fuel in it. – Rappler.com

*Quotes in Filipino were translated into English, and some were shortened for brevity.

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Malacañang, and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.