SANTIAGO, Ilocos Sur - To prevent the effect of an oil spill on the coastal fishing ground here, fishermen and the local government units are working to clean the coastal areas in the province's second district.
Gov. Luis "Chavit" Singson said that a massive coastal clean-up is being carried out to protect not only the fishing ground in five towns and one city in the province but also to maintain the beauty of the pristine beaches of the province.
Affected by the oil spill are Candon City, the towns of Tagudin, Sta. Cruz, Sta. Lucia, Santiago and San Esteban, Ilocos Sur.
The incident came after the MV Harita Bauxite sunk off the waters of Cape Bolinao in Pangasinan last February 16, causing massive oil spillage along the coastal areas of Pangasinan, La Union and Ilocos Sur that reached up to Ilocos Norte.
Newsmen learned that the Myanmar-registered MV Harita Bauxite sank seven nautical miles of Cape Bolinao.
Reports said that right after the vessel sank, its oil spilled in the area and spread all the way up to the shorelines of the provinces of La Union and Ilocos Sur, due to the change of the course of the wind.
"We are conducting massive coastal clean up to prevent further damage on the environment," said Singson.
"We are collecting the oil spill and put it in sacks," Singson added.
Clean-up is also being conducted by residents along the shorelines from Pangasinan to Ilocos by the members of the Bantay Dagat and personnel from the Philippe Coast Guard.
The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) announced that a coordinating conference was held to determine the exact cause of the oil spill in the coastal waters of Pangasina, La Union and Ilocos Sur.
The conference was attended by the Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Navy, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and local governments of the affected provinces, municipalities and cities.
OCD Regional Director Melchito Castro said the conference will determine what caused the oil spill that first hit the coastal areas of San Fernando City, San Juan, Bacnotan, Luna and Bangar in La Union before it reached the coasts of Candon City, Tagudin, Sta. Cruz, Sta. Lucia, Santiago and San Esteban, Ilocos Sur.
A report received by OCD said the oil spill reached as far as Currimao, Bacarra and Paoay, all in Ilocos Norte.
OCD said the oil spill affecting the coastlines of Ilocos region for two weeks is expected to be cleaned up by March 18.
Castro said the coastal cleanup in these provinces is continuing.