Gov’t continues to extend assistance to Mindoro oil spill victims

By Azer Parrocha

March 21, 2023, 4:14 pm

<p>Photo courtesy of PCG</p>

Photo courtesy of PCG

MANILA – The administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. continues to extend assistance to the communities affected by the oil spill in Oriental Mindoro that has so far reached other provinces in the regions of Mimaropa and Western Visayas, Malacañang announced Tuesday.

In a news release, the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) listed ongoing programs aimed at assisting the local population affected by the oil spill.

To date, the national task force for oil spill management in Mimaropa and Western Visayas said a total of PHP28.3 million worth of humanitarian assistance was provided to the affected families by the national government, local government units (LGUs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other partners.

Among the agencies involved in the humanitarian operation are the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the local government units in the affected areas.

The DSWD is currently implementing a 45-day cash-for-work program involving 7,198 families (including off-site), which started last March 6 and extended until May this year. It said the beneficiaries could also avail of Emergency Cash Transfer (ECT) and family food packs (FFPs).

Likewise, the DOLE has started the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) Program in the three areas of Caluya namely Sibolo, 152; Semirara, 246 and Tinogboc, 66, through a 30-day work program.

TUPAD is a community-based package of assistance that provides emergency employment for displaced workers, underemployed and seasonal workers, for a minimum of 10 days, but not to exceed a maximum of 30 days, depending on the nature of work to be performed.

The government has so far identified 20 beneficiaries each from 10 municipalities for a total of 200 beneficiaries in the province of Antique.

Authorities are reconciling the names of TUPAD beneficiaries with the DSWD to avoid overlapping of assistance.

Meanwhile, various government agencies are coordinating with the International Tankers Owners Pollution Federation Limited (ITOPH) on the conduct of a massive clean-up drive, identification of the debris staging area, as well as the dumpsite.

A private contractor for the oil spill clean-up is hiring 100 local workers to help the community.

As of Monday, the oil spill has affected over 150,000 individuals or 32,000 families in Mimaropa and Western Visayas.

The MT Princess Empress was carrying 800,000 liters of industrial oil when the tanker sank near Naujan, Oriental Mindoro on Feb. 28.

Marcos earlier said the government aims to finish the oil spill cleanup in less than four months. (PNA)