A year after oil spill: community mural and marker remind call for justice, protection

February 28, 2024

Fisherfolk, affected communities, religious groups, and youth groups marked the first year of the Mindoro oil spill by calling attention to the slow progress made on justice, compensation, and recovery.
Protect VIP, a coalition advocating for the protection of the Verde Island Passage, organized a mass at the Pola Community College presided by Oriental Mindoro Bishop Moises Cuevas that gathered community members in solemn remembrance of the tragedy that hit their shores February 28 last year.
“Today, we gather in prayer and unity to commemorate the day that changed the course of the lives of the people of Oriental Mindoro. Pope Francis in his Laudate Deum reminds us that the most effective solutions will not come from individual efforts alone, but above all from major political decisions. Our fight does not end today and we will not cease to fight until we see a clear path towards its recovery, which would only be possible if justice is served, polluters are held accountable, and communities are properly compensated,” said Fr. Edwin Gariguez, lead Convenor of Protect VIP.
Gerry Arances, Co-Convenor of Protect VIP and Executive Director of the Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED), a think-tank which released the valuation report of the oil spill damages, underscored the need for decisive actions from policymakers to prioritize urgent protection for the VIP.
“The marine life and the people who depend on the Verde Island Passage deserve nothing less than 41.2 billion which is the estimated damage caused by the oil spill. We hope that this number serves as a guidepost for the government and the agencies for tougher policies in protecting our waters and ensuring that no polluter walks free from their accountability,” said Gerry Arances, Executive Director of the Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED), a think-tank which released the valuation report of the oil spill damages.
The program also highlighted the unveiling of the design for a commemorative marker to be built in Pola as a symbol of the courage and determination of the community. A symbolic march to the Pola bridge showcasing a mural designed by renowned artist AG “Whale Boy” Saño, in collaboration with local communities and youth groups.
“The mural and marker will memorialize the unwavering spirit of the people of Mindoro in the face of the oil spill. This will be a permanent reminder of what the polluters owe to the communities and what the government must do in protecting the Verde Island Passage,” added Gariguez.

Related Articles


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This