Business as usual in Puerto Galera

Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco on Monday (March 27) said that affected frontline tourism workers will be subjected to capacity building and skills training programs in a bid to prepare and provide them with alternative sources of livelihood following the oil spill incident in Mindoro.

“At this point, it’s really about ensuring that our tourism frontline workers na kung mawalan man sila ng work for a few days or weeks because of the oil spill that we are able to provide them with alternative sources of livelihood and that is why we will be providing trainings to them, not just specifically focused on their present work but to alternative types of work,” the tourism chief said during her television guesting at Teleradyo’s morning show Sakto, Monday.

The training, she added, will be conducted by the Department’s regional offices.

Frasco also shared that she has already directed the Department’s regional offices, through 4B (MIMAROPA) and 6 (Western Visayas), to consolidate all of the names of the affected tourism workers and have them endorsed to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to avail of the assistance under the Tulong Panghanap Buhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program.

“Per our monitoring, umabot na sa 63 tourism sites yung affected ng oil spill and up to 1,000 tourism workers. Kasali na din dito ‘yung ating community-based tourism. And so, we are monitoring this very closely and I’ve already directed the regional offices to craft a recovery action plan para naman po mabigyan natin ng guidance ‘yung ating mga affected tourism stakeholders and we are sure to provide social protection sa ating mga affected tourism workers,” she emphasized.

Likewise, the DOT, through its Office of Industry and Manpower Development (OIMD), will also conduct a learning needs assessment to develop a training module on oil spill to better equip tourism stakeholders in case similar incidents happen in the future.

Earlier, the municipal government of Puerto Galera has clarified that the area remains negative of the oil spill effects, thus, the tourism chief said that the tourist destination remains one hundred percent open for tourism.

“As far as the top attractions in that particular area, including Puerto Galera were pleased to inform the public that they are still at over 90 percent capacity as far as reservation is concerned, we invite our fellow Filipinos to patronize Puerto Galera kasi patuloy po ang kanilang tourism offerings, while at the same time, we will continue to give whatever assistance that we can do to the areas that have been affected,” she said.

According to the March 22, 2023 report by the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC), the following cities and municipalities in CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, and Western Visayas, have been confirmed of the oil spill from the sunken MT Princess Empress off Naujan, Oriental Mindoro: Batangas City in Batangas; Naujan, Pola, Pinamalayan, Bansud, Bongabong, Roxas, Mansalay, Gloria, Bulalacao, and Calapan in Oriental Mindoro; Agutaya and Taytay in Palawan; and Caluya in Antique.

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