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Group endorses proposal to seek compensation for oil spill

An organization of environmentalists in the province of Antique is backing the provincial government’s proposal to seek restitution from the owner of the sunken fuel tanker that spilled oil and harmed the ecology and way of life in the municipality of Caluya.

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In an interview on Thursday, Save Antique Movement (SAM) head Virgilio Sanchez claimed that the oil spill had hurt the local fishing and seaweed industries.

“We came up with a statement for the local government unit (LGU), specifically of Caluya, to hold accountable the owner of the motor tanker as soon as we learned about the oil spill already harming the shorelines of Caluya,” Sanchez added.

According to Sanchez, SAM has a large number of professional members, including attorneys who could help with lawsuit filing.

The group also appeals to other attorneys who could offer free assistance in the filing of charges for violations of Republic Act (RA) 9483, commonly known as the Oil Pollution Law, RA 9275, popularly known as the Clean Water Act, and RA 8550, also known as the Fisheries Code.

He claimed that the infringement of these statutes could give rise to a claim for damages.

Sanchez stated, “The SAM is delighted that the governor has already expressed her plan to pursue reimbursement for the damages since the fishermen were unable to collect fish, crabs, shrimp, or shellfish as a result of the environmental calamity.

After meeting with Caluya Mayor Rigil Kent Lim on March 8, Antique Governor Rhodora Cadiao stated in a media interview that she intended to seek damages.

Cadiao also stated that the demand will be made as soon as the damage had been fully assessed.

According to the report from the Antique Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) dated March 11, the oil spill in Caluya had an impact on 8,387 families who were involved in seaweed farming and fishing.

On February 28, the MT Princess Empress grounded off the coast of Oriental Mindoro before sinking the following day, resulting in an oil spill that had a considerable impact on the ecosystem and local residents, notably in that province.

In a statement on March 12, the tanker’s owner, RDC Reield Marine Services, expressed regret for the event and gave the impacted parties assurance that it was taking action to remedy the issue and lessen its effects, particularly on the environment.

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