Oriental Mindoro oil spill reaches tourist spots – DOT

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 6) — The effects of the oil spill in Oriental Mindoro are already being felt in marine protected areas, beach resorts, and shorelines of surrounding provinces, according to the Department of Tourism (DOT).

The DOT on Monday said the oil spill has affected marine protected areas in Pola, Oriental Mindoro, namely: the King Fisher Reserve, St. John the Baptist Marine Sanctuary, Song of the Sea Fish Sanctuary, Stella Mariz Fish Sanctuary, Bacawan Fish Sanctuary, St. Peter the Rock Fish Sanctuary, and the San Isidro Labrador Fish Sanctuary.

Beach resorts in Oriental Mindoro impacted by the spillage include: Bihiya Beach, 3 Cottage, Long Beach, Aguada Beach Resort, Oloroso Beach Resort, Munting Buhangin Tagumpay Beach Resort, and Buhay na Tubig White Beach Resort.

The oil spill also affected Caluya town in Antique, especially the shorelines of Sitio Sabang, Barangay Tinogbo, Liwagao Island, Barangay Sibolo, and Sitio Tambak in Barangay Semirara.

Authorities are conducting coastal clean-ups in affected areas as an immediate remedy to prevent further damage, the DOT said.

"Anent this, the DOT notes with seriousness the oil spill incident and its grave impact on the tourism industry, including disruptions in the livelihood of the affected communities, tourism-dependent businesses, and recreational activities," Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco said.

Meanwhile, Malay town in Aklan, which oversees Boracay Island, is already making preparations to lessen the possible effects of the oil spill if it reaches the popular resort destination.

It has declared a state of “heightened alert,” as it closely monitors the expanding leakage from the sunken MT Princess Empire.

Memorandum Order No. 2022-01 reads, “The possibility that the Oriental Mindoro oil spill would affect Boracay Island and other areas of Northern Panay was very remote--thus, all concerned are advised to implement preparedness measures to mitigate the possible effect of this oil leakage.”

Malay Mayor Frolibar Bautista ordered the town’s Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils and the Philippine Coast Guard to inspect the areas that may be hit by the oil spillage based on wind direction. These include Puka Beach, Crimson Boracay, Mövenpick, and Shangri-La Boracay.

Aklan-based journalist Carla Doromal contributed to this story.