Oriental Mindoro

‘Tinatabo-tabo lang po namin’: Mindoro town using just pails, coconut husks for oil spill


This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

‘Tinatabo-tabo lang po namin’: Mindoro town using just pails, coconut husks for oil spill
(2nd UPDATE) Pola, Oriental Mindoro Mayor Jennifer Cruz declares a state of calamity on March 3 to deal with the impact of the oil spill as dead fishes and sea birds wash up on the shores of Pola, Naujan, and Pinamalayan towns

MANILA, Philippines – Residents of Pola, Oriental Mindoro are using water containers, paint buckets, pails, and coconut husks to remove thousands of liters of industrial oil from the coastline, as authorities scramble to contain the environmental impact of the spill from the oil tanker MT Princess Empress last February 28.

Pola, Oriental Mindoro Mayor Jennifer Cruz declared a state of calamity on Friday, March 3 to deal with the impact of the oil spill off the coast of the province known for its numerous marine sanctuaries.

Cruz’s move came as the provincial agriculture office reported sightings of dead fishes and sea birds on the shorelines of Pola, Naujan and Pinamalayan towns.

ECOLOGICAL THREAT. Sightings of dead birds and fishes on the shores of Oriental Mindoro towns threaten one of world’s center of marine biodiversity and the livelihood of thousands of fisher folk. PIA Mimaropa

Around 3,800 fisher folk in these towns face the loss of income, said the agriculture office.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ma. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, who visited the province to determine the extent of the damage of the oil spillage, stressed that the priority task is “makita natin kung saan talaga lumubog ang oil tanker para ma-pinpoint kung hanggang saan ang magiging extent ng damage sa ating mga Marine Protected Areas at kabuhayan ng mga mangingisda sa lalawigan” (to find the location of the sunken oil tanker to pinpoint the extent of damage to Marine Protected Areas).


“Hindi po natin alam ang bantay dagat natin doon kung saan ilalagay ang kinukuha nilang langis. Tinatabo-tabo lang po namin kasi wala po talaga kaming way kung papaano kukunin ang mga langis sa tabing dagat,” Pola, Oriental Mindoro Mayor Jennifer Cruz said in an interview with News5.

(Our sea patrol don’t know where to put the oil. We just use dippers because we don’t know how to remove the oil from the shore.)

Residents have also used coconut husks to block the oil from further going to the shore.

Pola has seven sanctuaries and 533 hectares of mangrove.

Cruz said that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources went to several barangays to get water samples, but noted that more action should be made, as they are ill-prepared to face this calamity.

Around 4,200 residents of 11 barangays have already been evacuated to higher ground to avoid inhalation of toxic fumes. Residents, who are mostly fisherfolk, have been prevented from fishing.

Bad weather

In an interview with GMA News, Oriental Mindoro Governor Humerlito Dolor said that the oil spill boom –temporary floating barriers used to contain marine spills – is already “in the area” but cannot be deployed.

Masyadong malalaki ang alon na nakakaapekto sa operasyon ng oil spill boom, malakas po ang hangin… Patuloy pong sinisikap na mailatag na ito,” Dolor said.

(The waves are big and that affects the operation of the oil spill boom, the wind is strong… They are doing their best to lay out the boom.)

According to Dolor, the ship’s location also cannot be ascertained for now, making it difficult for authorities to conduct activities. 

MT Princess Empress, an oil tanker carrying 800,000 liters of industrial oil, capsized near Tablas Island, Romblon, early Tuesday, February 28. It was on its way from Limay, Bataan to Iloilo when it was slammed by strong waves near Tablas Island.

Oil sludge from the capsized MT Princess Empress has reached the shores of Pola and Pinamalayan in Oriental Mindoro, the Philippine Coast Guard Southern Tagalog said. – Ralf Rivas, Darcie de Galicia/Rappler.com

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!