Ilocos beaches free of oil sludge before Holy Week – Coast Guard

By Miriam P. Aquino, PIA 1, La Union


SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union– Days after implementing a coastal cleanup, coast guard officials expect to complete the removal of thick sludge along the La Union shorelines before the Holy Week.

Capt. Pablo Gonzales Jr., coast guard district commander in northwestern Luzon, said volunteers, residents, non-government organizations, and government personnel are working to completely remove oil deposits from the shorelines of Lingsat in San Fernando, Luna and Darigayos in Bacnotan town including the coastal areas in Candon City in Ilocos Sur.

“What can be seen (in these areas) are mere oil spots and stains on rocks and corals,” he said adding that pressurized washers are expected to arrive today to wash out oil marks.

“We have collected 250 sacks of coagulated oil. Villages could make use of these deposits by converting them to asphalt,” he said.

Gonzales said they expect to completely take out oil remnants in affected coastal villages in Narvacan and Santiago both in Ilocos Sur including the coast of Paoay in Ilocos Norte before the Holy Week when more tourists are expected to hit Ilocos beaches.

Volunteer groups and affected communities have teamed up with personnel of the PCG, the Office of Civil Defense, police and naval forces in the Ilocos including affected local governments in cleaning up the shorelines.

The La Union provincial board had earlier declared the province under calamity state to enable the local government to utilize its calamity funds for coastal cleanup.

Authorities have yet to determine where the oil seepage originated after initial reports showed that the slick may have come from a sunken Myanmar vessel off the coast of Bolinao in Pangasinan or from vessels docked on the La Union seaport.

Officials said the oil spill began spreading in the waters of the three provinces last week. Immediate cleanup operations were immediately set in place to control its spread.#