A month after the Oriental Mindoro oil spill, fisherfolk under the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) pressed for a quick and unconditional indemnity for the affected fisherfolk and coastal residents from the owner of the MT Princess Empress.
In a statement, the group said around 18,000 fisherfolk from Oriental Mindoro, parts of Antique and Palawan, are unable to return to their normal fishing activities for a month now because of the oil spill.
“One month after the oil spill tragedy, accountability remains elusive. In Oriental Mindoro, fisherfolk in several towns are expressing frustration over the slow and arduous process of obtaining compensation from the company that owns the MT Princess Empress, the vessel responsible for the spill,” the group said.
According to Pamalakaya, fishers are finding it hard to cope with the intricate compensation process, which is becoming increasingly challenging as the oil spill spreads to more areas, resulting in their families facing prolonged periods of hunger.
“We once again urge for the prompt and direct distribution of compensation to the impacted fisherfolk and their families residing along coastal areas. Apart from compensation, the owner of the sunken vessel should be compelled to shoulder the long-term rehabilitation of the affected fisheries, mangroves, reefs, and coasts, to restore their previous vitality,” the statement read.
In solidarity with the affected communities, Pamalakaya joined the launching of “SOS: Stop the Oil Spill, Save Our seas!,” a broad formation of grassroots organizations, environmentalists, scientists, academes, and civil society groups pushing for immediate response to the oil spill.
A broad coalition of oil spill-affected communities and cause-oriented groups, the Stop the Oil Spill, Save Our Seas! aims to demand transparent, urgent, and sufficient action on the oil spill; and called on authorities to seek justice and accountability from liable actors, and ensure just reparation and sustained recovery for affected communities and biodiversity.
Organizers of the group include SOS, Protect VIP Network, Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED), Oceana, and Greenpeace Philippines, and representatives of affected communities in Oriental Mindoro and Batangas.
Image credits: Jilson Tiu, CEED