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The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has taken necessary measures to mitigate the impact of an oil spill incident off the town of Jasaaan, Misamis Oriental province last April 3, Black Saturday.

The oil spill resulted from the sinking of cargo vessel MV Racal IV that has been docked in a shipyard in the coastal town of Jasaan for five years.

"In incidents such as these, our goal is to always protect the ecosystem, the biodiversity it hosts, and the people in the area," DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu said.

Cimatu said the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) in Region 10 has been working in coordination with the local government of Jasaan and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to prevent further contamination of coastal communities.

Based on the initial investigation led by EMB-Region 10 Regional Director Reynaldo Digamo and his team of technical experts, three tons of bunker oil has contaminated one square kilometer portion of the bay, affecting five barangays namely, Lower Jasaan, Upper Jasaan, Luz Banzon, Kimaya and Solana.

The EMB-Region 10 also observed a "faint odor" from the spill that persisted, particularly along the coast of Barangay Luz Banzon, which was severely affected by the incident.

It said that accumulated oil debris was also seen in mangrove trees and docked boats, thus affecting the livelihood of the fisherfolk in affected villages.

Digamo said PCG-Region 10 has commissioned Far East Fuel Corp., a registered transport, storage, and disposal facility, to remove and transport the collected oil and oil-contaminated materials.

"We have already coordinated with the owner of the vessel and the local government unit, the PCG, and the fisherfolk residents near the area to prevent further contamination," Digamo said.

MV Racal IV owners Sherwin Doctora and Dr. Lord Sanny SalvaƱa have committed to pay for the damages during a meeting with Jasaan Mayor Redentor Jardin, municipal and provincial officials, and EMB-Region 10.

Citing the assessment of the PCG-Region 10, the EMB-Region 10 reported that 80 percent of the spilled oil has been removed.

Digamo said the EMB-Region 10 will conduct an in-depth investigation on the incident. ###