P116 million earmarked for cash-for-work program for affected residents
MANILA — More than 150,000 people have been affected by the massive oil spill in Oriental Mindoro, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said Monday.
In a public briefing, DSWD Assistant Bureau Director Miramel Laxa said that as of March 20, about 32,661 families or 151,463 individuals were reeling from the effects of the oil spill caused by sunken tanker MT Princess Empress.
The affected population spanned across 131 barangays in Oriental Mindoro, Palawan, and Antique provinces, Laxa said.
DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian earlier said about 7,000 individuals in 6 towns in Oriental Mindoro alone have been provided with family food packs.
The DSWD has earmarked funds worth P116 million for 18,762 affected fisherfolk who availed of its "cash-for-work" program, Laxa said.
The program, which will be extended until May, aims to provide fisherfolk with alternative means of livelihood while they are still prohibited from catching fish in waters affected by the oil spill.
"Ie-extend po ng DSWD ang pagpapatupad ng cash-for-work program hanggang Mayo para lubos na makapagbigay ng livelihood para sa mga apektadong populasyon. Ito ay habang ang ating mga mangingisda po ay hindi pa rin pinahihintulutang pumalaot upang makahuli ng isda na kanilang ibebenta," Laxa said.
(The DSWD is extending the cash-for-work program until May to properly provide means of livelihood for the affected population, while our fisherfolk is still not allowed to fish in the affected waters.)
The cash-for-work program beneficiaries would be paid around P355, equivalent to their region's daily minimum wage.
Their main tasks involve activities containing the oil spill, such as collecting materials and building improvised spill booms and absorbents, establishing village and backyard gardens, and community cleanup drives.
"Ilan lang po iyan sa mga activities under our cash-for-work program para matulungan din iyong buong komunidad na hindi na rin talaga lumawak din nang ganoon iyong oil spill na ito," Laxa said.
(Those are just some of the activities under our cash-for-work program to help the community and to ensure that the oil spill does not spread further.)
Residents of Oriental Mindoro, Palawan, Antique, and nearby provinces continued to deal with the adverse effects of the massive oil spill that has reached Isla Verde in Batangas City.
It has been 3 weeks since the oil spill first spread, after MT Princess Empress went down in rough seas near Oriental Mindoro while carrying 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil when it went down on Feb. 28.
According to the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI), oil was still leaking out of the sunken vessel as of March 15.
Experts said more than 36,000 hectares of marine life may be affected by the spill.