MANILA, Philippines – On February 28, tanker MT Princess Empress, carrying 800,000 liters of industrial oil fuel, capsized near Balingawan Point off the coast of Naujan, Oriental Mindoro, threatening protected areas and fisherfolk communities.
At least 76 coastal barangays in nine towns across Oriental Mindoro were affected by the oil spill and placed under a state of calamity. At least 26 marine protected areas and enclosed environments protected by law were also affected by the oil spill, and over a hundred people have fallen ill.
Environmental groups and scientists expressed worry over potential damage by the spill to thousands of hectares of coral reefs, seagrass, and mangrove areas, including Verde Island Passage, a center of marine biodiversity. Thousands of fisherfolk also face the loss of livelihood and income.
In this episode of Newsbreak Chats, Rappler’s environment editor Jee Y. Geronimo speaks with multimedia reporter Dwight De Leon and researcher-writer Lorenz Pasion about their experiences on the ground in Mindoro. De Leon and Pasion visited the site of the oil spill and spoke with local residents about the environmental and livelihood impact of the disaster on them and their community. They will also tackle measures needed to clean up and avoid a repeat of the costly environmental disaster.
Watch Newsbreak Chats on Thursday, March 23, at 4 pm. – Rappler.com