The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Region 7 will impose a penalty of more than P13 million on those responsible for the oil that leaked from the ferry that sank after a collision with a cargo freighter on Friday.
The oil has polluted mangroves and fishing grounds in Cebu.
DENR-7 information officer Eddie Llamedo said they were waiting for the result of the investigation of the Philippine Coast Guard and Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) to determine which ship was responsible for the mishap.
“We are just waiting [for the results of the investigation]so can impose the penalty on the management of either 2GO or Sulpicio Express Siete,” Llamedo said in a telephone interview.
Tens of thousands of liters of fuel and engine oil spread to nearby coastlines after the M/V St. Thomas Aquinas and the Express Siete collided near the port of Cebu.
Based on an initial assessment, 613 hectares of newly planted and natural stand mangroves in 12 coastal barangays of Cordova town and Lapu-Lapu City were affected by the spill.
“As of today, our inventory and assessment showed that 328 hectares of newly planted mangrove areas under the integrated coastal resources management project (ICRMP) were affected,” he said.
Llamedo said they were looking at a penalty of P20,000 per hectare of mangrove areas, under the ICRMP, adding that another 300 hectares of natural stand mangrove areas were also polluted.
On top of the penalty for the damage to coastal areas, Llamedo said they were also computing the cost of opportunity loss, heritage value of the area, tourism losses and provisioning value of the ecosystem for food and income.
He said that they will also be charging for the post-care and rehabilitation program of the affected areas, adding that it will take as long as four months before they can restore the area to its previous state.
Llamedo said they have completed an inventory and assessment of water quality in sea off Talisay, Cordova and Lapu-Lapu.
He said that they have collected nine water samples from the areas to help determine whether the companies have committed violations of the Clean Water Act of 2004.
JAMES KONSTANTIN GALVEZ