THE OIL spill from sunken fuel tanker MT Princess Empress has yet to reach the tourist town of Puerto Galera, according to local authorities. 

This was confirmed by Oriental Mindoro Vice Governor Ejay L. Falcon after the provincial council passed a resolution on Friday night placing all coastal villages in the province under a state of calamity except those in Puerto Galera.  

In a letter to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan before the Friday session, Puerto Galera Mayor Rocky D. Ilagan said there is no basisto include the town in the declaration since it remains oil spill-free.  

Mr. Ilagan said that based on water samples collected by authorities from Puerto Galeras Varadero Bay, Escarceo Point and Palangan Bay last month, oil and grease presence in the three sampling points remained below one.   

He added that the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources had released a bulletin that after its evaluation of contaminant levels in water and fishery resources, the same showed minimal oil and grease, which are within the standard stated by DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) for fishing areas.”  

Mr. Ilagan said the local environment and natural resources officealso conducts almost daily monitoring of our municipal waters and there are no indications that the oil spill has migrated to the municipal waters of Puerto Galera or that our resources are in any way contaminated by the oil spill,”  

The Oriental Mindoro resolution came after the provincial government had confirmed the presence of grease and oil in Baco and San Teodoro, Puerto Galeras neighboring towns. 

The Puerto Galera local government has boosted its efforts to attract local and international tourists this summer season.   

On Saturday, local authorities held a so-called Plunge to Pledgeactivity to inform the public that the town remains oil spill-free. 

The local government has called out alleged false information on social media indicating that the oil spill had reached the town. Last month, Mr. Ilagan admonished the University of the Philippines-Marine Science Institute, which has been closely monitoring the incident, for issuing a warning that the oil spill might reach Puerto Galera.   

The tanker was carrying 800,000 liters of industrial oil when it sank off Naujan, Oriental Mindoro on Feb. 28.  

The Philippine Coast Guard and other emergency responders, with help from international experts, are still carrying out clean-up operations and preparations are underway to plug the oil spill source. Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza