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NDRRMC promises coordinated action to mitigate the effects of the Mindoro oil spill

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Officials from the provincial government of Oriental Mindoro were given assurances by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) that the national government will carry out coordinated interventions to lessen the effects of the oil leak in the province.

This happened after the coordination conference on Wednesday convened by officials and members of the NDRRMC member agencies, and local government units that tackled the strengthening of the ongoing response activities following the oil spill from the sunken M/T Princess Empress last Feb. 28.

Undersecretary Ariel Nepomuceno, executive director of the NDRRMC, and the administrator of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) presided over a meeting that prioritized action items to support the response operations being carried out by the Philippine Coast Guard and other federal, state, and local government entities.

OCD spokesperson Assistant Secretary Bernardo Rafaelito Alejandro IV said in a statement on Wednesday that Undersecretary Nepomuceno reassured Oriental Mindoro Governor Humerlito Dolor during the meeting who expressed concerns about the effects of the oil spill in the province that the national government will ensure the conduct of integrated interventions to address the effects of the oil spill.

The discussion also covered the improvement of government capacities for managing and containing oil spills, the connections for immediate equipment and resource availability, the streamlining of entrance protocols for reaction teams, and the assessment of the current oil spill contingency plan.

Early recovery initiatives carried out by organizations for the impacted communities were also reported. One such initiative was the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ cash-for-work program, which was supported by the Department of Labor and Employment through “TUPAD” or the “Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers” and funded by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

A vessel from Japan is anticipated in the nation to help with the response efforts. Japan’s government has dispatched officers and equipment from the Coast Guard to assist in managing the crisis.

In Western Visayas and MIMAROPA, 31,497 families have already been impacted by the oil disaster. 13,654 farmers’ and fishermen’s livelihoods were also impacted by the oil leak.

As of Tuesday, the OCD, DSWD, local governments, the Department of Health (DOH), and non-governmental organizations have contributed a total of PHP23.9 million in cost assistance.

By NDRRMC Memorandum No. 14, series 2023, a regional task force for oil spill containment, cleanup, and emergency response was established on March 3. The task force is led by OCD MIMAROPA.

The Philippine National Police, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Southern Tagalog District, the Armed Forces of the Philippines Southern Luzon Command (AFP-SOLCOM), the Bureau of Fire Protection, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Department of Health, and the MIMAROPA local government units are among the organizations that make up the task force.

Four NDRRMC reaction clusters were activated: the logistics cluster, led by OCD; the food and non-food items cluster, led by DSWD; the health cluster, led by DOH; and the search, rescue, and retrieval cluster, led by the AFP.

The standby state of additional response clusters was set.

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