Gov’t urged to provide subsidy to fisherfolk affected by oil spill

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 7) — A fisherfolk group is calling on the government to provide immediate subsidy and livelihood support to fishing families in Oriental Mindoro and nearby areas affected by the oil spill.

In a statement on Tuesday, Pamalakaya said the livelihood of many fishermen has been disrupted since Feb. 28, when the motor tanker MT Princess Empress, carrying 800,000 liters of industrial oil, capsized and caused the spill.

“Nananawagan kami sa mga kinauukulang ahensiya ng pamahalaan na sabayang aksyunan ang paglilinis ng kumalat na langis at paghahatid ng ayuda sa mga apektadong mangingisda at pamilya sa tabing-dagat,” the group’s national chairperson Fernando Hicap said.

“Kailangan nila ng agaran at pang-araw-araw na panustos para sa kanilang pamilya,” he added.

[Translation: We are calling on concerned government agencies to distribute aid to affected fisherfolk and families, on top of conducting cleanup efforts. They need immediate assistance.]

Hicap said they expect lesser catch, even fishkill, due to the spill’s impact on the marine environment.

Pamalakaya also said the owner of the sunken MT Princess Empress should pay compensatory damages and shoulder the cleanup costs.

A total of 78 coastal barangays from nine municipalities in Oriental Mindoro have been placed under a state of calamity as of Monday due to the oil spill, namely Naujan, Pola, Pinamalayan, Gloria, Bansud, Bongabong, Roxas, Mansalay, and Bulalaco.

The effects of the oil spill have also spread to nearby areas, including Caluya in Antique.

Aside from placing the town under a state of calamity, the Caluya local government issued an executive order on March 4 suspending fishing activities in a number of localities.

Based on partial data gathered by Pamalakaya, the spill has affected around 1,200 fisherfolk and coastal residents in Semirara Island in Caluya alone.