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State of calamity in Pola, Oriental Mindoro to be lifted on February 26
State of calamity in Pola, Oriental Mindoro to be lifted on February 26
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State of calamity in Pola, Oriental Mindoro to be lifted on February 26
by Christhel Cuazon20 February 2024
An aerial view shows the oil spill from the sunken fuel tanker MT Princess Empress on the shores of Pola, in Oriental Mindoro province, Philippines, March 8, 2023. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

The state of calamity implemented in the muicipality of Pola in Oriental Mindoro will be lifted on February 26, a year after the motor tanker Princess Empress sank and caused massiv oil spill in the waters off the province.

The development was announced by Pola Mayor Jennifer Cruz, who said that the lifting of the state of calamity "will revive the local tourism industry and will erase doubts among the fisherfolk whether to fish or not."

Cruz lauded a decision of the Department of Justice to file charges against the executives of the RDC Reield Marine Services, owner and operator of the Empress, as well as two crewmembers of the vessel, an employee of the Maritime Industry Authority and a private person.

“This is only for the criminal complaint. The civil case is separate. It was only us who fought for our fisherfolk. Other local government units, including the provincial government did not file charges,” the mayor added.

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In an interview with DZRH over the weekend, Cruz revealed that only 625 out of the 5,576 affected families received compensation from the International Oil Pollution Compensation (IOPC) Funds, the insurer of the sunk MT Princess Empress.

Aside from the compensation, the Pola local government is offering alternative livelihood to the affected fisherfolks such as backyard gardening and construction jobs.

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