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Provincial

PBBM conducts aerial inspection of oil-spill affected areas in Oriental Mindoro

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. conducted on Saturday an aerial inspection of the Oriental Mindoro coastlines affected by the oil spill in the province.

Following the aerial inspection, the chief executive presided over the situation briefing with mayors in Pola town to assess the damage of the oil spill and coordinate government response.

President Marcos instructed the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to talk to governors and local chief executives in the identified four alternative fishing grounds for those affected by the oil spill.

“Nakapag-profile ang DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) para makita kung ano ‘yung mga bagong pwedeng livelihood,” the President said.

“At saka huwag nating iniisip para ngayon lang, gawin na natin para kahit na bumalik na ‘yung isda, tuloy pa rin ‘yung kanilang hanapbuhay, may livelihood na — may karagdagang livelihood. ‘Yun ang importante,” the chief executive added.

President Marcos also personally led the distribution of various government assistance such as fishing boats, fish smoking machines and relief packs to the residents of Pola.

Since the onset of the oil spill, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) of the Department of Agriculture has been monitoring the situation in affected areas in Mimaropa, Western Visayas, and Calabarzon regions.

BFAR also provided technical support by analyzing water and seafood for contaminants and formulating science-based recommendations on fishing bans, as well as livelihood interventions, food and relief assistance to protect the public from hazards caused by the spill and to address the needs of the affected communities.

In the ongoing clean-up operations, BFAR has deployed Php720,945 worth of PPE (personal protective equipment) sets, ropes, and other materials for clean-up activities in coastal communities of Oriental Mindoro.

The DA’s attached agency also deployed monitoring, control, and surveillance (MCS) vessels. It also actively participated in inter-agency habitat and rapid assessment initiatives to the affected communities.

Data from BFAR showed more than 26,000 fisherfolk were directly affected by the oil spill.

The damage in terms of inputs and produce, fishing gears and paraphernalia and facilities and equipment amounted to a total of Php445.3 million.

These included fisheries production losses from Mimaropa Commercial and Municipal Fisheries valued at Php14.1 million and damage to 119 metric tons (MT) of seaweed productions in Western Visayas valued at almost Php3 million. | PND

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