This photo from the Philippine Coast Guard District Western Visayas shows personnel and volunteers performing manual oil segregation and collection, and transporting contaminated sand and debris to a designated temporary storage area at Sitio Sabang, Brgy. Tinogboc, Semirara Island, Caluya, Antique.

The conservation organization WWF-Philippines is requesting a review of the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan (NOSCOP) and the management of the country’s shipping routes.

WWF-Philippines emphasized the importance of the NOSCOP in a statement, saying it provides clear guidance on the national response to oil spills.

The NGO also urged the government “to consider imposing comprehensive and more stringent regulations and accountability on vessels carrying hazardous materials and to review the current routes of these vessels.”

“We recommend conducting a Sensitivity Index Mapping throughout the country to determine habitats and other coastal resources that are at risk of being damaged by potential oil spill incidents,” they said.

Based on the data from the DENR, 21 protected areas in Mindoro, Palawan, and Antique are threatened by the effects of the oil spill.

It also stated that better management of shipping routes and marine protected areas is necessary to avoid overlapping and to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

“Thousands of Filipinos have their small-scale livelihoods anchored on the natural resources provided by healthy seas and this should be a crucial factor considered by all corporations especially those in the logistics and oil industries,” it explained.

WWF-Philippines went on to challenge the government to address the impending crisis immediately.

“We can only genuinely claim to be the center of marine biodiversity in the world if we ourselves address oil spills swiftly and seriously, knowing full well that our very lives and futures depend on it,” it pressed.