MANILA — The mayor of Pola town in Oriental Mindoro said on Monday there was still a long way to go in the cleanup of an oil spill in their area.
This, after the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said that government had cleaned up about 84 percent of the coastline affected by the Mindoro oil spill.
“Maybe offshore wala tayong nakikita, pero sa shoreline natin, 'pag nag-dig tayo ng sand, you can still see the oil, there’s a lot of oil spill pa eh,” Mayor Jennifer “Ina Alegre” Cruz told ANC's "Rundown".
“May mga tar pools pang dumadating sa ibang barangay natin, which is before hindi pa nalalagyan ng oil spill. And pumunta kami sa ibang barangay… kapag tinanggal mo yung bato, at nasa ilalim ng bato, sobrang baho pa rin,” she added.
(Maybe you don't see any oil offshore, but when you dig into the sand, it's still there. There are still tar pools in some barangays. And when you visit other barangays...there is still oil under the rocks.)
“Ayaw naman natin na sabihin na ganoon, 84 percent, kasi baka mamaya, umasa kami at yung taumbayan na wala na, so pupunta sila sa dalampasigan, so di natin alam kung ano ang mangayayari sa kanilang skin, maliligo sila sa dagat,” she noted.
(We don't want to release any statements that it's 84 percent done, because the people might go to the beach, swim there, then damage their skin.)
Cruz said the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) was still in Pola to help with the cleanup. But she said she hoped the process could be sped up.
“Medyo nababagalan lang tayo kasi iilang machine lang yung gumagana, so nagre-request tayo, lalo na yung ating mga barangay captains na baka para mas mapabilis at makabalik ang ating mangingisda sa dalampasigan, baka pwedeng dagdagan yung tao para maglinis kasi, and yung mga machine na ginagamit nila para linisin yung ating dalampasigan,” the mayor said.
“Kung aabutin ng mga, sabi nila more or less another 6 months, so at least hihintayin namin. Kung mas mapapabilis like 4 months or 3 months, good for us,” she added.
(It's a bit slow, only a few machines are working, so some barangay captains are requesting for more manpower or machines to clean the water. They said it will take more or less another 6 months, so we'll wait for that. If it comes down to 4 or 3 months, good for us.)
She also welcomed Department of National Defense Officer-in-Charge Carlito Galvez’ statement that a new siphoning vessel from Singapore would soon be deployed to Oriental Mindoro.
“Sobrang happy kami sa siphon na ‘to," she said.
(We are so happy with this.)
A multi-agency task force in the Philippines has lifted the ban on fishing and recreational activities in several areas in Oriental Mindoro.
Mayor Allan Roldan of Baco, Oriental Mindoro welcomed the move to lift the fishing ban in their area.
He said even though the oil spill did not reach their area, the fishing ban affected his constituents.
“Apektado po tayo dahil ang atin pong mga mangingisda at ating manininda ay hindi rin po makapaningil, makapanghuli ng isda dahil wala pong bumibili ng kanilang isda dahil natatakot,” he said.
“Lahat po ay pinapayagan na dito sa aming bayan,” he said.
(We are affected because our fishermen and sellers couldn't sell fish because nobody was buying them.)
Mayor Salvador Py of San Teodoro, Oriental Mindoro also said fish prices dropped in their town because they had a large catch but few buyers.
“Marami pong isda dito sa amin, kaso po, siyempre may psychological effect din po yung sinasabi nila na bawal kumain. Kaya po ang isda po namin dito ay madaming nahuhuli, P10 na lamang ang kilo,” he said.
“Ngayon po nakakrecover na, P60 na po ang kilo," he added.
(There are many fish, but of course their's a psychological effect of the announcement that you couldn't eat them. We had a lot of catch, we sold them at P10 a kilo. Now it is slowly recovering at P60 per kilo.)