For most residents in Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro, the only means of living is by fishing. Because of the oil spill brought by the sinking of the MT Princess Empress last February 28, residents are seeking alternative livelihood to sustain their day-to-day living.
Marites, a resident of Pinamalayan, seeks urgent assistance for their loss of income.
“Ako po si Marites Inocencio Alimani, nakatira dito sa Barangay Marfrancisco, Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro, ay nananawagan [na] kung pwede po sana magbigay ng tamang livelihood para sa naapektuhan ng mga mangingisda na nakatira dito sa Pinamalayan.”
(“I am Marites Inocencio Alimani, residing here in Barangay Marfrancisco, Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro, asking for assistance in providing proper livelihood for the affected fisherfolks here in Pinamalayan.)
Last April, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) stated their commitment to provide the affected fisherfolk in Oriental Mindoro with alternative livelihood, in coordination with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
However, until now, there are still limited alternative livelihood programs being offered to the affected communities, including the cash-for-work assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), a temporary employment for fisherfolks which includes collection of locally available materials for the construction of improvised oil spill booms and absorbents; establishment of barangay or backyard gardens; rehabilitation of mangroves; and management of community cleanup drives. While this program provides a short-term solution to the loss of income of the affected residents, this is still not enough. As the mayor of Pola said, this is not a sustainable answer – providing alternative livelihood is a must.
“Kailangan namin ng inyong maagang pagsuporta sa amin dahil hindi pa po kami makapagtrabaho hanggang sa ngayon. Mahirap po na wala kaming kinikita. Iyon pong pangingisda lamang ang aming inaasahan na nakakatulong sa aming pamumuhay [sa araw-araw],” Marites added.
(“We need your immediate support because we can’t work until now. It is difficult for us because we don’t have any earnings. Fishing is the only thing that we rely on for our everyday living.”)
Protect VIP Network joins the call of Marites and other families that lost their source of income in urging government agencies to prioritize the implementation of sustainable alternative livelihood programs for the affected communities of the oil spill. Protect VIP Network also continues to call for the liable parties to hold accountability and compensate for the damages they have inflicted to the residents of Oriental Mindoro and other affected regions.