Church eco-group mounts fund drive for relief of oil spill-affected areas

March 10, 2023 - 10:58 AM
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Coast guard personnel set up a floating boom to contain the oil spill from the sunken fuel tanker MT Princess Empress in the coastal town of Pola, Oriental Mindoro province, Philippines, March 6, 2023. (Reuters/Eloisa Lopez)

A Church-civil society ecological group is raising funds to help communities affected by the oil spill from a sunken fuel tanker off the coast of Mindoro island.

The Eco-Convergence national hub launched the campaign on Wednesday as authorities scramble to contain the spill.

The funds raised will be used for the relief and clean-up efforts not just in Mindoro but also in other dioceses affected by the tragedy.

Eco-Convergence was launched in 2019 to further promote the teachings of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si.

One of its partner organizations, Caritas Philippines, is also sending support for the most needy coastal communities in the Diocese of Calapan.

Fr. Edwin Gariguez, Calapan diocese’s social action director, said that as the government is providing the needed assistance to the affected areas, Caritas particularly aims to help the still ‘unreached’ communities.

“We are complementing their interventions, especially to reach out to the ‘unreached’ and still unattended families,” Gariguez said.

The Lipa Archdiocesan Social Action Center (LASAC) also sent relief goods to the diocese yesterday for low-income families whose livelihood were disrupted by the oil spill.

The MT Princess Empress sank on Feb. 28 off the coast of Oriental Mindoro province’s Naujan town, after it reportedly experienced problems with its engine.

The incident has resulted in the spillage of thick industrial oil, posing health hazards to residents and disrupting the livelihood of fishermen as well as owners of resorts and other business establishments.