Livelihood and tourism activities in the island municipality of Caluya in Antique province are now back to normal as the town reels from the impact of the oil spill caused by the sinking of the MT Princess Empress in Oriental Mindoro province.
“During our final assessment, we saw that there are already people who have returned to their seaweeds culture and fishing activities,” said Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (PDRRM) Officer Broderick Train in an interview on Friday.
Around 327 seaweed farmers and over 3,000 fisherfolks had to temporarily stop their activities due to the hazard brought by the oil spill.
Train joined the final assessment of the Regional DRRM Council on the situation in Caluya that was conducted June 15-18.
He said guests and locals are enjoying the white sand beach of the municipality.
The air and water quality in the area is already within standards, he said, quoting the assessment of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environment Management Bureau (DENR-EMB).
The water quality in the EMB sampling stations in Caluya is now within the standard of one to three milligrams per liter of oil from the previous 35 milligrams per liter, especially in Sitio Sabang.
The air quality has improved as there are no hydrogen sulfides or volatile organic compounds even in their collected waste, which means there is no more air pollution, according to EMB Legal Section Chief lawyer Arjunn Marven Calvo during the RDRRMC meeting held in Iloilo City on June 23.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) District Western Visayas also reported that all affected sites, except for the mangrove areas which they could not penetrate, have been cleaned.
The barge Corvus and tugboat MTug Minkar carrying the collected oil debris from Caluya are expected to arrive anytime this Friday at the Marala Port in Tondo, Manila where proper waste disposal will be carried out as per PCG report, Train added.
The vessels carried 354 drums or 118,459 kilograms and 424 tonner bags or 118,459 kilograms of debris.
“We will continue monitoring Caluya until all the remaining oil debris in the affected islands could be transported outside,” Train said.
He added that the PDRRM Council Emergency Operations Center has already downgraded its alert level from blue to white because the situation has already returned to normal.
MT Princess Empress was carrying 800,000 liters of industrial fuel when it sank in Naujan town, Oriental Mindoro in February this year. (PNA)