MANILA - Assistance to fisherfolk and residents affected by the oil spill in the waters off Oriental Mindoro and nearby areas will continue because government has the budget for this, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said on Tuesday.
Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said government agencies addressing the oil spill are okay in terms of funding for their social services for now.
"I think we have enough funding for that," Pangandaman told reporters during the sidelines in Malacañang.
"And if necessary, talagang kailangan pa po, puwede naman tayong magbigay," she added.
Currently, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has a cash-for-work program, while the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (Tupad).
Based on a Palace release, the DSWD already allotted P116 million for 18,762 affected fisherfolk who availed of its "cash-for-work" program.
The DOLE, on the other hand, already implemented its Tupad program, in the towns of Caluya, Semirara, and Tinogboc, which will span for a month.
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.
Dozens of people have fallen ill in the province as oil washed up on the shores, while thousands of fishermen were told to refrain from venturing out to sea until they can fish safely.
An environmental group said "extensive" damage from the oil spill would be felt for decades, while experts said more than 36,000 hectares of marine life may be affected by the spill.