Statement of Oceana on the Senate investigation regarding the Oriental Mindoro Oil Spill - Oceana Philippines
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Statement of Oceana on the Senate investigation regarding the Oriental Mindoro Oil Spill


Press Release Date: March 14, 2023

We appreciate the initiative of the Senate Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Climate Change under Senator Cynthia Villar in convening the investigation and get all state actors to testify, because most if not all the questions that were foremost in the minds of citizens the past two weeks were raised and responded to by our executive agencies – finally.

With the testimonies made today by national government agencies during the Senate hearing on the Oriental Mindoro oil spill, it is clear that our government agencies still have to learn to closely coordinate with one another including with local authorities and stakeholders for disaster prevention, effective disaster risk communication, and disaster response, as aptly pointed out by Senator Loren Legarda. Despite similar occurrences in the past and present, we do not have implementation plans for contingencies such as the oil pollution now ravaging our seas and coastal communities.

Despite several disasters hitting the country, largely human-inflicted, Republic Act 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Act of 2010 still has to be fully implemented and appreciated by key decision-makers. The oil spill is a disaster of epic proportion to our biodiversity and ecosystems including the iconic Verde Island Passage, as the center of the center of the world’s marine biodiversity, and the seafood-eating Filipino people who are largely dependent on a healthy ocean for sustenance and nutrition.

It was appalling to hear of the lapses in procedure which our regulatory agencies have allowed to take place.  Senator Villar and further questioning from Senators Risa Hontiveros and Chiz Escudero revealed that MT Princess Empress had no permit to operate – so why was it cleared by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) for nine voyages from ports in Bataan and Manila?

But hats off to the very proactive Governor Humerlito Dolor and mayors of the affected municipalities in Oriental Mindoro who prioritize the welfare of their constituents They have bravely taken on the responsibility of ensuring that their residents do not give up hope and have shown the compassion that is much needed in these particularly trying times.

However, these public servants and their constituents are at the receiving end of the lapses by the duty -bearers, our regulatory agencies, the consequences of which have gravely affected their livelihood, safety, and survival.

The Anti-Red Tape Act must be made applicable to the operations of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) as well – as it should apply to all government agencies – because they don’t seem to be aware of the services and timeline required of them especially when disasters occur.

In addition, it is high time that we seriously implement the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, RA 9513. Without a definite push away from fossil fuel and towards renewable energy, we will remain sitting ducks to oil spills, pollution and climate change impacts and becoming extremely vulnerable to the dire consequences they bring.

We cannot be flirting with disasters forever while anybody is free to spill oil in our ocean, without accountability.

Oceana is an international advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the world’s oceans. Since 2014, Oceana has been working closely with national and local government agencies, civil society, fisherfolk and other stakeholders to restore abundance of Philippine fisheries and marine resources. (END)

For More Information:

Joyce Sierra, Communications Manager, Oceana 

Mobile: 09178214430 E-mail: 


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