MANILA — More than 178,000 people so far have been affected by the oil spill in Oriental Mindoro and nearby areas, after authorities on Wednesday announced the leakage from the sunken vessel was already "significantly controlled."
Data from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Wednesday showed 37,871 families or 178,306 individuals were hit by the oil spill in the areas of Calabarzon, Mimaropa, and a portion of Western Visayas.
To help those affected, DSWD Assistant Secretary Rommel Lopez said they already released P217 million worth of financial and other assistance.
"Kabilang po dito iyong mga family food packs o iyong ating mga relief goods ganundin po iyong mga non-food items," said Lopez during a televised briefing.
"At sa mga financial assistance naman po natin, iyong atin pong Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation ay gumagana na rin po maging iyong ating emergency cash transfer at cash for work," he added.
Around P58.5 million, meanwhile, have also been distributed under the government's cash-for-work program, he said. Governor Humerlito “Bonz” Dolor had said 17,071 families are employed under this scheme.
Based on a Palace release in March, the DSWD allotted P116 million for 18,762 affected fisherfolk who availed of its "cash-for-work" program.
It has been 7 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 on Feb. 28.
The Department of Tourism, however, said 64 tourism sites and 1,400 tourism workers in Oriental Mindoro are affected by the ecological disaster.
The province estimated losing around P250 million so far in their tourism sector because of this.
For its part, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said the fishing sector loses nearly P19 million daily as the massive oil spill continues.
— With a report from Dennis Datu, ABS-CBN News
Video from PTV