House seeks ₱200-M cash aid for Mindoro fishers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 21) — The House of Representatives is trying to secure cash assistance worth ₱200 million for Oriental Mindoro fishers who were affected by the massive oil spill last February, House Speaker Martin Romualdez said Wednesday.

In a statement, Romualdez noted that around 8,000 fishers lost all sources of livelihood from the man-made disaster.

"Panimulang tulong lang ito na sapat sa dalawang buwan. Hahanap tayo ng paraan para makakuha naman ng pondo para sa mga alternative livelihood programs ninyo habang nililinis pa ang oil spill," Romualdez said.

[Translation: This is just an initial help that is enough for two months. We will find a way to get funds for your alternative livelihood programs while the oil spill is being cleaned up.]

“Gagawin natin ang lahat para makabangon kayo sa trahedyang ito [We will do everything we can to help you recover from this tragedy]," he added.

The House speaker said this will be sourced from the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged or Displaced (TUPAD) workers program of the Labor department.

Each of the 8,000 fishermen will receive ₱24,000, he added.

Romualdez met with the leaders of Mindoro fishermen’s group in his office on Wednesday.

They were accompanied by their lawyer who is helping affected residents seek damages from the owners of the sunken MV Princess Empress.

READ: Marina, PCG staff, MT Princess Empress owners face criminal complaints over oil spill

The tanker was carrying 800,000 liters of fuel oil when it sank in the waters off Naujan, Oriental Mindoro on Feb. 28.

The oil slick reportedly affected 193,436 individuals from Calabarzon, Mimaropa, and Western Visayas.