Coastal communities like Pola, Oriental Mindoro heavily rely on the provisions of the sea for their living. With the sinking of the MT Princess Empress, their livelihood was put to a halt. It has already been more than a hundred days, but the residents of Pola are still struggling to make ends meet.
Aldrin Villanueva, the president of the Fisherfolk Association of Pola expresses the lack of action of the polluters.
“Ako po si Aldrin, pangulo ng fisherfolk association ng bayan ng Pola, na nananawagan na [mahigit] hundred days na, wala pang nangyayari. Wala pa ring nananagot sa paglubog ng barko dito sa amin [at] nananagot kung sino man ang may-ari ng langis at may-ari ng barkong naturang.”
(“I am Aldrin, the president of the fisherfolk association in the town of Pola, calling out that it is [over] a hundred days now, but there is still no response. No one has been held liable for the sinking of the ship in our area [and] taking responsibility for whoever owns the oil and the said ship.”)
He also reiterated the difficulties faced by his fellow fisherfolk since the sinking of the ship.
“[Ang] mga mangingisda ay matagal nang hindi pumapalaot. Hanggang ngayon ay wala pang malinaw na kasagutan tungkol po sa may-ari ng barko.”
(“It has been so long since the fisherfolks have sailed to the sea. Until now, there is still no clear response from the owner of the ship.”)
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has recommended a sustained fishing ban in Pola and other towns of Oriental Mindoro (Calapan, Nauajn, Bansud, Gloria, and Pinamalayan) due to the oil spill. The suitability of the supply of fish in said areas are still in question, leaving concerns for the income of the fisherfolk and fish vendors.
“Kaya nananawagan po kami, sana po ay matugunan [na po] ang mga pangangailangan naming mga mangingisda,” fisherfolk Aldrin added.
(“That is why we are appealing and hoping that the needs of the fisherfolks would now be addressed.”)