May 20, 2024

Bicol Express News

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OCD stresses need for better oil spill response, strict prevention against water pollution

A year after the oil spill incident happened in Mindoro, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) on Saturday, emphasized the need for a better response and that stern measures and regulations against water pollution must be observed.

“It has been a year since the oil spill incident happened in Mindoro. Though it took us time, still we were able to surmount all the challenges that we encountered because of inter-agency and multisector action and though we hope that it will not happen again, the incident calls on us to strengthen our preparedness and response so that we can minimize the negative impacts of such incident,” said Civil Defense Administrator, Undersecretary Ariel Nepomuceno.

“We are pleased that it is done now, however, we cannot set aside the huge cost of damage, the environmental and health impacts that the incident caused. By acknowledging these, better preparedness and response are needed both from the government side and the companies” he added.

Usec. Nepomuceno on Friday joined the commemoration activity on the first year of the oil spill incident at the Bulwagang Panlalawigan, Provincial Capitol Complex, Barangay Camilmil, Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro.

In his message, Usec. Nepomuceno said that the agency learned a lot from the oil spill incident response operations.

“Ginawa lang po namin ang aming katungkulan at obligasyon. Marami kaming natutunan sa [insidente ng] oil spill at isa d’yan at pinakamahalaga ay ang pagtugon at paghahanda sa anumang kalamidad,” he said.

The event was organized by the provincial government of Oriental Mindoro to recognize the efforts and contributions of various government agencies, organizations, communities, and individuals to response operations.

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rexlon Gatchalian, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Sec. Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Assistant Secretary Julius Yano, OCD MIMAROPA Regional Director Eugene Cabrera, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Vice Admiral Rolando Lizor Punzalan, and Incident Commander Commodore Geronimo Tuvilla also attended the event.

The MT Princess Empress was loaded with 800,000 liters of Industrial Fuel Oil before its mishap on February 28, 2023, in Mindoro.

To address the incident, a regional task force was created on March 3, 2023. In the same month, a national task force was established to ramp up the response operations.