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CBCP appeals for justice for victims of the Mindoro oil spill victims

Aerial inspection by the Philippine Coast Guard on April 15, 2023, reveals lingering traces of the Feb. 28, 2023 oil spill from the sunken MT Princess Empress in the coastal waters of Oriental Mindoro province. (Malacañang photo)

On the occasion of the 1st anniversary of the Mindoro Oil Spill, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) appealed for justice for victims of the Mindoro oil spill on Tuesday in a statement.

On February 28 last year, M/V Princess Empress, carrying 900,000 liters of industrial oil, sank along the Verde Island Passage (VIP), known as the Amazon of the Oceans, a marine biodiversity hotspot. 

“Thousands of fishermen and other sectors were robbed of their means of living.  Families had little to eat, and many suffered illnesses from exposure to threatened thousands of hectares of mangroves and seagrasses, endangering the very fabric of life in our seas. The gravity of impacts has yet to be fully measured and continues to ripple today and in years to come,” said the statement.

The statement was signed by Most Rev. Gerardo Alminaza, D.D., lead convenor, CBCP National Laudato Si Program, Convergence National Hub, Vice Chair, Caritas Philippines, Most Rev. Jose Colin Bagaforo, D.D., President Caritas Philippines, chair, CBCP Episcopal Commission on Eco-Social Action, Justice, and Peace (ECSA-JP), and Most Rev. Pablo Virgilio David, D.D., president, CBCP.

“As we near one year since the oil spill happened in the VIP, we decry the continues elusiveness of accountability on the part of companies behind the oil spill, and erring authorities that contribute to the incident.  We also lend our voice to the call for justice for victims of the oil spill, and for sufficient and timely compensation that genuinely takes into account the damages that fisherfolk communities incur and continue to incur,” said the CBCP.

“We must note that the oil spill tragedy also indeed became a backdrop for action and compassion among the people of Mindoro and the many individuals and organizations that heeded the call for solidarity.  And today, we need that same solidarity—for justice for our brothers and sisters that were affected, and to call for action so that the Verde Island Passage would never again be subjected to a tragedy like the said oil spill in the future,” it said.

It added that it “is crucial to take a stand together as this paradise, this underwater Eden, continues to be threatened by ships ferrying toxic cargo, build-out gas and LNG power plants and terminals, extractive and industrial activities, and other problems.”

Nearly four decades ago, the CBCP wrote the Pastoral Letter on Ecology entitled "What is Happening to Our Beautiful Land?"—one of the first lamentations on the ailing health of our Common Home, which was also an exhortation for action and courage to protect it, said CBCP. (MTV)


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.