Processing of pay demands of affected sectors starts on Monday
People affected by the oil spill in Oriental Mindoro may begin applying for compensation on Monday, March 27, the insurer of the sunken MT Princess Empress said Thursday.
In a press briefing, Valeriano del Rosario, a lawyer with the insurer, P&I Club, said local claims offices will be set up in affected areas.
“On the week of 27 March 2023, the first claim offices, also known as claims caravan, will open in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro and it will act as the collecting point for the claimants to submit their completed claim forms,” he said. “Subsequently, we will also see the opening of local claims offices in the other affected barangays as well.”
Ahead of the insurance claims, more than P38.1 million in humanitarian assistance has been given to families affected by the oil spill.
DSWD spokesperson Assistant Secretary Rommel Lopez said aid has been given to families in Oriental Mindoro, in Agutaya town in Palawan, and in Caluya in Antique.
He said the amount covered at least 47,000 family food packs as well as cash aid for some 5,961 beneficiaries.
A food pack consists of 6 kilos of rice, 4 cans of corned beef, 4 cans of tuna flakes, 4 cans of sardines, 5 sachets of coffee and 5 sachets of cereal malt.
Oriental Mindoro Gov. Humerlito Dolor said P&I Club had confirmed in a meeting on Thursday morning that they will begin accepting applications for compensation.
Del Rosario said claimants include individuals, corporations, and local government units affected by the oil spill.
The categories of claims are the cost of cleanup and preventive measures, economic loss in fisheries and marine culture, economic loss in the tourism sector and related businesses, as well as property damage.
Claimants are advised to send accomplished claim forms to the designated offices with supporting documents and proof of their loss, which will be reviewed, Del Rosario said.
He added that the computation of claims will vary depending on the claimants and the categories of their claims.
He said, for example, if a fisherman earns P450 a day and stopped fishing for 23 days due to the oil spill, the amount of financial loss will be multiplied by the number of days of his interrupted livelihood. Based on this computation, the fisherman may get about P10,000.
The MT Princess Empress sank near Naujan, Oriental Mindoro, with its cargo of about 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil, causing a massive oil spill that has reached the provincial capital city of Calapan and that has threatened nearby provinces.
As of Wednesday, a total of 163,508 people or 34,555 families in Mimaropa and Western Visayas were affected by the oil spill, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said.
A state of calamity was declared in 10 cities and municipalities, the agency added.
At least 192 people fell ill due to the oil spill.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Thursday said the tanker, which was spotted by a Japanese remotely operated vessel (ROV) this week, suffered extensive structural damage after sinking, and oil was seen leaking from eight compartments.
It said the remaining oil inside the capsized vessel was as yet undetermined.
The wreckage of the MT Princes Empress was found 7.7 nautical miles away from Balingawan Point in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro by the Japanese vessel Shin Nichi Maru, which deployed an ROV to find it.
Insurance representatives were doing the rounds in searching for a service provider to conduct oil patching, bagging, and removal.
Dolor said that the Japanese salvage vessel should be asked to stay while they awaited the arrival of new equipment.
Fishermen from affected communities along the Verde Island Passage called on the government to serve justice and ensure that the livelihood and welfare of affected communities get priority in its disaster response efforts.
The call was made as fishing community leaders from Calapan, Pola, Naujan, Pinamalayan, Bongabong, Bulalacao, Mandalay, Roxas, Bansud, and Gloria in Oriental Mindoro joined together to launch the Koalisyon ng Mangingisdang Apektado ng Oil Spill (KMAOS).
A spokesperson for the group, Dindo Melaya, said each fisherman affected by the oil spill should be compensated at a rate no lower than P500 a day.
The calls were backed by the Bukluran ng Mangingisda sa Batangas (BMB), who expressed solidarity with fishermen in the oil spill’s ground zero in Mindoro and raised the alarm over the trajectories of the slick moving west and northwards to Batangas due to shifts in the wind pattern.