AGAINST OIL SPILL. Families in Barangay Navotas in Calapan City in a ‘bayanihan spirit’ to make improvised oil spill boom. The oil spill from the ill-fated MT Princess Empress that sunk off Naujan waters threatens to reach Calapan, according to a university’s study. (Contributed photo from Calapan City LGU) 

MANILA – Senate Pro Tempore Loren Legarda asked on Friday for more assistance for the residents affected by the recent oil spill happened in Oriental Mindoro that has been impacting various provinces in Mimaropa and Western Visayas.

Napakahalaga na mabigyan ng prayoridad ang pagbibigay ng tulong sa inyong lalawigan, at patuloy kong idinidiin ang kagyat na pangangailangang suportahan ang mga naapektuhan ng oil spill (It is important that giving aid to your province will be given priority and I will continue to push for the needed support of those who were affected by the oil spill)," Legarda said.

Legarda's office partnered with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to help the affected communities and were able to distribute PHP2,000 worth of aid under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS) program to 500 fisherfolks.

A total of 2,000 food packs for the affected families in the municipality of Pola were also distributed.

"Ang payout na ito ay tiyak na magdadala ng saya sa kabila ng nararanasang kahirapan, at patunay na hindi sila nakakalimutan ng gobyerno (This payout will surely bring joy despite their struggle and proves that they are not being forgotten by the government),” Legarda said.

The veteran lawmaker thanked DSWD and the local governments of Oriental Mindoro province for the swift response to the affected residents and also met with Secretary Rex Gatchalian to discuss the other assistance needed.

Patuloy nating tulungan at suportahan ang ating mga kababayan sa pamamagitan ng napakagandang programang ito. Palagi nating unahin ang mahalagang layunin ng AICS program na magbigay ng support system para sa ating mga kapwa Pilipino sa panahon ng krisis at kahirapan (We will continue to help and support our people through this very good program. We will always prioritize the important purpose of AICS program to give support system for our fellow Filipinos in times of crisis and poverty),” Legarda said.

Aside from Pola, the municipalities of Naujan, Bongabong, Pinamalayan, Roxas, Gloria, Bansud, Mansalay, Bulalacao, and Calapan City are also affected by the oil spill as identified by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) of Oriental Mindoro.

Since the news about the oil spill broke out, Legarda immediately coordinated with the concerned agencies regarding updates on the situations in the areas affected, including her home province of Antique, where she provided cash assistance under the DSWD’s AICS program amounting to PHP3,000 per household to 570 families in partnership with Antique Representative Antonio Agapito "AA" Legarda Jr.

On March 10, Legarda called on the concerned Senate committees, with the cooperation of all government agencies, to immediately conduct an inquiry on the environmental, health, and tourism impacts of the oil spill that left a widespread problem to many locals in the area, and filed Senate Resolution No. 540 directing the appropriate committee to conduct the inquiry. (PNA)