US team ‘now on their way’ to assist Oriental Mindoro oil spill cleanup – Galvez
MANILA, Philippines — The United States government has committed to help in the Oriental Mindoro oil spill cleanup, according to the Presidential Communication Office (PCO) as reported by Defense chief Carlito Galvez Jr. to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
The PCO said Galvez told the President that US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin committed to deploying naval units to help in the operation.
“I had a phone call last night (Monday) with Sec. Austin at 7:45 p.m. They are committed to [helping] in coordination with Japan and other countries,” the PCO quoted Galvez as saying.
The Japan Coast Guard had pledged to extend assistance to the oil spill cleanup.
Galvez also said that Austin assured that the US Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response team “is now on their way to help and provide assistance in managing the oil spill,” the PCO noted in a statement.
An oil spill ensued after MT Princess Empress, which carried 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil, sank on February 28 off Naujan town in Oriental Mindoro province following engine trouble due to rough sea condition.
The spillage has reached as far as Verde Island in Batangas, and Taytay town in Palawan.—MJ Soriano, trainee