Makabayan bloc wants owner of tanker to immediately compensate communities affected by oil spill

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 17) — The Makabayan bloc is urging the owner of MT Princess Empress to immediately compensate the communities affected by the oil spill caused by the sunken tanker in Oriental Mindoro.

“The owner should immediately compensate our fishermen and all the people affected in the oil spill,” ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro, a member of the Makabayan bloc, told CNN Philippines’ The Source on Friday.

The vessel was carrying 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil when it sank off Oriental Mindoro’s Naujan town on Feb. 28. Affected communities have been dealing with the oil slick since then.

The Makabayan bloc on Thursday filed House Resolution 869 urging the lower chamber to investigate the impact of the incident. It is also pushing the national government to pursue sanctions against RDC Reield Marine Services, the owner of MT Princess Empress.

Aside from compensation to residents affected, Castro said the government should force RDC to pay for damage to the environment caused by the incident.

Cases may also be filed against the company, she added.

Under the Oil Pollution Compensation Act of 2007, the owner of a ship is liable for the oil spill if the incident led to incurring expenses for clean-up operations at sea or on shore; incurring expenses for preventive measures; loss of earnings suffered by owners or users of property contaminated or damaged; economic loss; damage to human health or loss of life; and environmental damages.

Once the investigation is complete, Castro said she hopes clear guidelines will be also established on the issuing of permits and on the inspection of tankers.