MANILA - The United States "has committed to help" the country to clean up the oil spill off the waters of Oriental Mindoro, the Department of National Defense (DND) said on Tuesday.
Defense officer-in-charge Carlito Galvez, Jr. said the US government's Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) team is on their way to the Philippines based on his phone call with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
“I had a phone call last night with Sec. Austin at 7:45 p.m. They are committed to help in coordination with Japan and other countries,” said Galvez, based on a Malacañang press release.
They will "provide assistance in managing the oil spill," he added, and this could be included in the upcoming "Balikatan" Exercises.
“In fact, as I've recommended, some of the exercise scenarios of the forthcoming ‘Balikatan’ Exercises will be ‘real life’ and actual HADR operations relative to the oil spill,” the DND official pointed out.
The Philippines will continue to reach out to other countries, such as France and United Kingdom, for their expertise and technical support in cleaning up the oil spill.
Earlier this month, the Philippine Coast Guard said it formally requested the US government to help contain the oil spill.
Coast Guard chief Artemio Abu said "many countries" had presented to assist the country in containing the oil spill, as they race to clean this up in less than four months.
The Office of Civil Defense earlier said the government is still lacking oil spill booms.