On Monday, March 6, Commander Dennis Rem Labay of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) District of Palawan has laid down their action plan regarding the possible threat of the oil slick from the sunken MT Princess Empress once it reaches the Palawan waters.
“Nag-meeting na sa mga LGU. That’s what’s important kasi we’re pinning our hopes doon sa response doon sa personnel namin sa area at sa mga LGUs, kasi ‘yun ang katulong natin doon, pati mga fisher folks,” Labay said.
Labay said that PCG, LGUs, and other stakeholders have already started making an improvised spill boom made from coconut husks.
“Local coconut husks, bunot sa bisaya. Kung makikita niyo gagamitin siya parang spill boom, para hindi lumusot ‘yung oil. It’s an ingenious way, kasi mahal ang spill boom. Tumutulong din ang mga locals ng Cuyo sa pag-gawa niyan at tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang inspection every day,” Labay said.
Labay also said that a dispersant spray, which aims to contain the oil spill from the sunken tanker has been sent to Cuyo. The dispersant spray will break down the compositions of the industrial oil, making it less harmful to the coastal shoreline.
Labay said that based on their recent aerial survey, their agency predicted that on March 12, Saturday, the oil spill from the sunken tanker may reach the coastal shores of Araceli, Dumaran, and Cuyo, if not contained.
Contrary to initial reports from other local media over the weekend that the oil spill has reached Barangay Algaceris and Concepcion in Agutaya, Labay confirmed that the oil found in the said areas, which was noticed by residents, was not from the sunken oil tanker but from oils drifted due to debris or garbage from their coastal beaches but will still need further verification to make sure.
“As of yesterday, mayroong reports na nakuha sa Barangay Concepcion at Algaceris and apparently ang oil na nakita nila doon ay galing sa mga basura kung saan dumikit ‘yung oil. So bale napadpad ‘yung oil doon dahil sa basura, but still i-check pa natin kung ‘yun ay same oil mula sa spill,” Labay said.