The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Monday (6 March) released its initial report on the results of the oil spill in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro to tourism sites within the affected areas and nearby provinces.
Immediately following the incident, Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco ordered the DOT Regional Offices in MIMAROPA and Western Visayas to closely monitor the situation and coordinate with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and anxious local government units (LGUs).
Based on the data gathered by the DOT, the oil spill has affected several Marine Protected Areas within the Municipality of Pola in Oriental Mindoro, resembling the KingFisher Reserve, St. John the Baptist Marine Sanctuary, Song of the Sea Fish Sanctuary, Stella Mariz Fish Sanctuary, Bacawan Fish Sanctuary, St. Peter the Rock Fish Sanctuary, and the San Isidro Labrador Fish Sanctuary.
As well as, beach resorts resembling Bihiya Beach, 3 Cottage, Long Beach K. I, Aguada Beach Resort, Oloroso Beach Resort, Munting Buhangin Tagumpay Beach Resort, and Buhay na Tubig White Beach Resort in Oriental Mindoro have also been affected.
Coastal clean-up is now being done within the affected areas as a right away solution to stop further damage.
Effects of the oil spill have also reached the Municipality of Caluya within the Province of Antique, particularly along the shorelines of Sitio Sabang, Barangay Tinogbo, Liwagao Island, Barangay Sibolo, and Sitio Tambak in Barangay Semirara. At present, not one of the tourist attractions have been affected. However the LGUs, along with the PCG, have been conducting clean-ups, with the support from the private sector who provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs).
Further, Boracay Island within the Municipality of Malay, Aklan is already preparing for the opportunity of the results of the oil spill reaching its area of jurisdiction.
The PCG and the Malay Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (MDRRMO) are repeatedly conducting roving and monitoring along the coasts of Boracay. They’ve prepositioned oil slick booms in strategic areas across the island in anticipation of the oil spills.
The DOT Western Visayas Office can also be actively coordinating with the LGU of Malay on extending possible assistance to tourists in Boracay in case the spillage reaches the island’s coastal area, and has likewise issued advisories on the areas affected by the oil spill.
“Anent this, the DOT notes with seriousness the oil spill incident and its grave impact on the tourism industry, including disruptions within the livelihood of the affected communities, tourism-dependent businesses, and recreational activities,” Secretary Frasco said.
“Scuba diving, beach, and cruise tourism rely upon the region’s coastal resources, and are also its major tourism products. If unmitigated, the oil spill can adversely impact three world-class dive destinations within the Philippines, specifically the Verde Island passage and Apo Reef in Mindoro, and Coron’s World War II Wrecks and Philippine Dugong,” she added.
In keeping with Secretary Frasco, cruise tourism within the region is also affected, with 34 cruise ships expected to call in Mindoro, Romblon, Marinduque, and Palawan for the yr.
“The DOT, in coordination with its regional offices, commits to repeatedly coordinate with agencies resembling the DENR, EMB, PCG, and anxious LGUs on any update in regards to the oil spill, and in looking for urgent mitigating measures to handle the harmful effects of the incident to marine life, world-class dive sites, and tourist attractions,” the the tourism chief assured.
Meanwhile, the DOT reported that not one of the tourist attractions within the municipalities of Naujan, Victoria, and Pinamalayan in Oriental Mindoro have been affected up to now by the oil spill. The Naujan Lake, a serious tourist attraction, has no reference to the ocean and won’t be affected by the oil spill.
The DOT can also be in close coordination with officers of the Tubbataha Management Office, who’re monitoring the situation in Tubbataha Reef, which is along the Municipality of Cagayancillo in Palawan. Based on the most recent update from the Tubbataha Management Office, there aren’t any reported effects of the oil spill in the world yet.
The DOT is about to issue succeeding advisories once pertinent updates and latest information can be found.
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