By John Noel E. Herrera
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)-6 has warned the public in Caluya, Antique to avoid consuming seafood after the oil spill in Oriental Mindoro reached some parts of the town.
BFAR-6 regional director Remia A. Aparri noted that four sitios from barangays Tinogboc, Sibolo, and Semirara in Caluya, Antique have already been affected by the oil spillage, which threatens the environment and seafood industry in the area, particularly the seaweed and the indigenous coconut crabs.
Aparri added that their team has already visited the affected island barangays to retrieve fishery samples, which will be subjected to laboratory analysis in Manila.
BFAR-6 said that they would issue an advisory related to the safety of the fishery products based on their sensory evaluation.
The agency also committed to giving food assistance to 73 identified fishermen whose livelihoods have been severely hit by the oil spill.
The Department of Health (DOH)-6, on the other hand, said several people have been experiencing health problems due to the oil spill, as 25 residents reported coughing, 12 were experiencing colds, 10 were suffering from sore throat, seven experienced dizziness and five suffered from headaches.
Government workers and residents of Caluya are continuously working to clean up the coastline as approximately eight kilometers of the island’s coastline have been affected by the oil spill.
The Antique Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) reported that around 660 sacks of oil-coated waste were collected so far and the province recorded P4 million worth of damage to marine resources and fishing tools as of March 9, 2023.
Data from the Office of Civil Defense (OCD)-6 indicated that only 3,100 liters of oil have been collected so far, out of the estimated 16,400 liters that spread in the affected areas.
It added that the oil spill has already affected 7,618 families or 24,264 individuals across four areas in Caluya, Antique, which include Sitio Sabang, Brgy. Tinogboc; Liwagao Island; Brgy. Sibolo, and Brgy. Semirara.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has already extended help as they have so far distributed P6.4 million worth of food and non-food items to the affected families.