POLA, ORIENTAL MINDORO —This Saturday, led by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. together with Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual and other members of his cabinet namely Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma, they conducted an inspection of the areas affected by the oil spill in Oriental Mindoro.
Following the massive oil spill, the local government declared a state of calamity in all coastal barangays throughout Oriental Mindoro. It is estimated that seventy-eight (78) coastal barangays were affected in life and business. The oil spill affected sixty-three (63) tourism sites and one thousand (1,000) workers from coastal barangays, and tourism-related businesses.
In this regard, the government has distributed various government assistance to the affected residents of Pola. Secretary Pascual led the distribution of financial assistance from the DTI for small businesses affected by the oil spill from the sunken MT Princess Empress that contained industrial fuel. This assistance is part of the DTI’s program Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa (PPG) where they distributed LandBank Cards to ten (10) microenterprises in Pola.
Secretary Pascual said, “We at the DTI are extending help to businessmen affected by the oil spill. We know that this incident has weakened their careers that are just beginning to recover from the impact of the pandemic. One of the priorities of our agency is to strengthen small businesses or MSMEs, so we will continue to provide assistance to help them recover, especially after such an oil spill.”
In order to assess the extent of the damage sustained by Mindoro, President Marcos also conducted an aerial inspection. This was also followed by conducting a survey by the Small Business Corporation (SBCorp) on businesses that were granted loans. Based on the survey, seventy-six (76) of them were affected by the oil spill. Some of these businesses are boat operators, and owners of resorts and sundry stores whose income has weakened after the tourism and fishing sectors were affected.
On the other hand, the DTI Provincial Office (DTI-PO) with the help of the Negosyo Centers also asked for a list of microenterprises in the affected areas. In collaboration with the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWD), the DTI will conduct an evaluation to determine the beneficiaries who will be granted assistance through the PPG.
The PPG Program was launched by the DTI in 2020 as a response to restore economic vitality in areas affected by war, typhoons, and other types of calamities and disasters. In fact, in 2022 DTI was able to distribute PPG startup kits to over six hundred (600) beneficiaries.
“Through PPG, we aim to help small businesses recover, particularly MSMEs that have been affected by calamities and disasters. Aside from cash assistance, we at DTI also distribute information related to doing business, conduct trainings, and provide business startup kits. We want the government’s assistance to be extended and brought closer to the people in different parts of the country,” added Secretary Pascual.
The ceremonial distribution program was also attended by DILG Secretary Benhur Abalos, DENR Secretary Antonio Yulo-Loyzaga, DOT Secretary Cristina Garcia-Frasco, DOH OIC Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire, Special Assistant to the President Anton Lagdameo Jr., Governor Humerlito Dolor, and Mayor Jennifer Cruz.