THE environment department and other agencies are assessing this week’s diesel oil spill in waters off Cavite to help determine further interventions needed and sanctions on parties responsible for the incident.
“We’re coordinating with agencies like Philippine Coast Guard and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to ascertain the spill’s comprehensive impact,” said Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 4A Regional Executive Dir. Reynulfo Juan.
He said Cavite’s provincial environment and natural resources officer (Penro) is among authorities investigating the oil spill.
Juan said reports show the oil spill already affected 10 villages in Tanza municipality and seven others in Rosario municipality, jeopardizing public health, livelihood and the environment there.
He’s awaiting results of his order to check Cavite’s mangroves for possible oil spill contamination so appropriate interventions can be undertaken if necessary.
The Penro said those mangroves are in Naic, he noted.
Government continues promoting rehabilitation and care of mangroves nationwide, noting these protect coastal areas from sea surges and serve as foraging and breeding ground of various species.
Earlier, authorities reported the oil spill stretched some 20 kms covering waters off Cavite’s Rosario, Tanza, Naic and Ternate municipalities.
All four municipalities are along Manila Bay.
Authorities also said aerial surveillance show the oil spill already spread out some 15 km from Cavite shores to Manila Bay waters.
They reported setting up spill booms in the affected area to prevent the leaked diesel from spreading further.
PCG estimated at least 500,000 liters of diesel leaked into Manila Bay, raising the oil-water surface mix there to levels that exceed tolerable limits.
Several residents in the affected areas reported experiencing dizziness and vomiting from inhaling the spilled diesel’s fumes.
Others there continue helping recover the oil that leaked.
Tests conducted show oil taken from the affected shores match samples from the vessel MT Makisig, authorities noted.
Reports also surfaced citing the pipeline of oil giant Petron Corporation as the spill’s possible source.
Testing of oil samples from the shoreline and Petron will show if these also match, authorities said.
Juan isn’t discounting the possibility of government suspending Petron’s operations in Rosario if investigation proves this company is the oil spill’s source.
“We say there was no leak at our end,” Petron corporate affairs head Charmaine Canillas clarified, however.
She said Petron monitored no leak in its pipeline despite pressure tests this company conducts on its products.
“We’re trying to ascertain source of the oil spill as there are many possibilities,” she said.
Canillas noted since the oil spill occurred, Petron had its hands full in helping contain the diesel that leaked.
About 50 percent of the spilled diesel’s been removed from the water already, she said.
She added Petron will continue coordinating with authorities and the affected communities regarding the incident. PNA