By Don Gloriane and Joey Natividad
MATNOG, Sorsogon (BicolToday.com) – Dirty, black oil spill of unknown origin has washed ashore Sunday along the coastlines of two coastal villages in Matnog, this province.
Affected barangays (villages) are Barangay Tablac and Barangay Camatcili.
The odorous, petrochemical smell from the black oil spill has already caused pulmonary and breathing problems among village residents, especially children.
Matnog is a sea port town on the southern tip of Luzon Island where land transport vehicles of cargo trucks, cars, motorcycles, and buses, and passengers take a RORO ferry ride to Samar Island for their destinations in the Visaya-Mindanao provinces, same with Luzon-bound vehicles from the Visayas and Mindanao.
According to Barangay Chairman Jerry Funtilar of Tablac, the bad, offensive smell is disturbingly very strong, causing people difficulty from breathing normally.
Funtilar worries about young children with asthmatic conditions who might suffer gravely as aggravated by the foul chemical smell.
According to Fumillar, the black, dirty oil resembles that of machine used oil.
A local-based Philippine Coast Guard detachment assigned at Matnog Port has responded and applied “remedial measures” to contain the oil spill, but such technology on oil spill containment is only known to specialized groups involved in maritime disaster response crisis situation.
A source said Coast Guard personnel applied “chemicals” on the shoreline of Tablac and Camatcili to prevent the dirty, black oil from sticking to the beach sands, but the chemicals used were not identified.
Coast Guard Enrico Andal, at the scene, lamented that the origin of the used oil should have known how to properly dispose of its oil rather disposing it into the sea.
Source of the used oil was not yet known as of press time, and the Coast Guard is investigating the sea vessels plying the Matnog-Samar ferry route, suspecting a ship might have disposed its used oil into the sea.
According to the Coast Guard, the sea between Samar and Matnog, Sorsogon is also a route used by international shipping vessels, aside from domestic shipping.
Meantime, distress calls to concerned national agencies were already aired Sunday, July 10, by the local Coast Guard and the barangay governments of Tablac and Camatcili to clean up the oil spill.
Government response and intervention is expected this week, starting Monday July 11, as the oil spill has already contaminated the Matnog shoreline. [BicolToday.com]