Linapacan town’s coastlines haven’t shown any signs of oil slicks, but its disaster risk reduction office says they are still on high alert.

Mayor Emil Neri said that the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) is doing continuous daily monitoring to ensure that the spill from the tanker MT Princess Empress in Naujan, Mindoro, would be contained before it reaches their coastlines.

So far, though, Neri said that even the fishermen who go out to sea to help keep an eye out for signs of an oil spill have not found anything.

“Araw-araw na nagmominitor ang ating MDRRMO sa mga barangay natin at sa mga kapitan natin na tingnan kung posibleng may mga sinyales ng langis na nagmula sa Mindoro dito sa ating buong isla,” said Neri.

“Sa report ng mga mangingisda na nasa paligid ng Canarem Island malapit sa boundary ng Linapacan at Cuyo, as of 6:45 a.m., Sunday, March 12, 2023, wala silang nakikitang trace ng langis sa karagatan,” he added.

Neri noted that he directed the daily surveillance to protect the seaweed farms in Linapacan from the oil’s potentially disastrous effects.

Linapacan MDRRMO chief Freddie Tejada said that since the Task Force Oil Spill was established on March 10, they had already surveyed 10 barangays’ coastal areas to see if the oil has reached their shores.

“Nagpatrolya kami kahapon [Marso 12] kasama ang PCG at DENR, negative sightings naman, tapos nag meeting kami kahapon din sa brgy. kapitan ng Cabunlawan para masabihan ang mga nangingisda na-ireport kong merong makitang Oil spill sa mga lugar na pinaglalaotan nila,” Tejada said.

Tejada explained that the task force is also responsible for conducting information and education campaigns (IEC) with the assistance of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG). The IEC will continue until locals are fully aware of what to do if the oil spill reaches their coastlines.

“Laging open ang hotline ng MDRRMO at panawagan namin sa mga kababayan natin lalong-lalo na sa mga mangingisda na ahad ireport sa amin kung sakaling may oil spill sighting sila,” said Tejada.

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is the news correspondent for Sofronio Española and Narra, Palawan. He also covers some agriculture stories. His interests are with food and technology.