The capsizing of the MT Princess Empress in Tablas Strait near Oriental Mindoro is the latest warning to the Philippines that we must urgently end the era of fossil fuel dominance.
Not only was there a reported five-kilometer long oil spill from the ship’s diesel fuel; containers holding 800,000 liters of crude oil also sank underwater, which is worsening the environmental disaster threatening even more vital marine ecosystems and coastal communities.
This is a stark reminder of the direct and indirect dangers brought by fossil fuels to natural and anthropogenic systems. Despite the well-established role of fossil fuels in worsening the climate crisis to which the Philippines is one of the most vulnerable countries, the current administration still openly advocates for the expansion of said energy sources’ usage in the nation. Without the proper implementation of safety procedures to avoid these incidences, lives and properties would continue to be placed at risk.
We call on the Philippine government to hold the owner of MT Princess Empress accountable for the damages this incident has inflicted on affected families and communities. It is a timely reminder of the State’s mandate to uphold the right of Filipinos to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, among other rights exercised to safely pursue development.
We also reiterate the call for the Philippines to urgently reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and enact a just transition to a renewable energy-dominated economy and society. Further delaying this necessary and inevitable process due to the influence of profit-driven fossil fuel interests is an injustice that would cost us far more than what we have seen from this incident.
Photo credit: PIA MIMAROPA