By Jennifer P. Rendon
The world-renowned Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan is still safe from being contaminated by the oil spill from an ill-fated oil tanker that sank near Naujan, Oriental Mindoro.
Commander Jonie Belarmino, commander of Coast Guard District-Western Visayas (CGDWV)‘s Marine Environmental Protection Force, said their monitoring indicated that the spill has no immediate threat to the famed island destination of Boracay.
“The most proximate oil spill is located 80 nautical miles off Boracay. We’re just praying that the monsoon will not turn into habagat,” he said.
The prevailing wind direction and water current are northeast and Boracay is on the east side.
Still, Belarmino said that they encourage local governments to prepare.
“The possibility will always be there. The threat is there until we can contain the oil spill,” Belarmino said.
In the case of Malay town, which has jurisdiction over Boracay, officials have undertaken measures to prepare for any eventuality.
On Monday, March 6, the local government of Malay announced that it was on heightened following the oil spill incident.
In an official statement, “the Local Government Unit of Malay, in coordination with its Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils as well as the Philippine Coast Guard is conducting continuous monitoring of our coastal areas.”
Based on the direction of the wind, the Malay LGU said they have identified the nearest susceptible areas.
“We have pre-positioned oil spill booms to these areas as our primary defense. The LGU is also preparing oil containment defense out of indigenous materials for our secondary defense. Despite the low probability of the oil spill reaching our shores, we cannot be complacent,” the statement added.
Further, the local government said that several preparations are also underway relative to the incident.
“We are coordinating with other government agencies while preparing for the worst-case scenario,” it added.
The CGDWV said spill booms and other equipment have been prepositioned and would be dispatched when needed.