10 February 2010

Pandacan Leaders Host Oil Depot Forum February 2010

PUP Hosts Anti-Pollution Campaign
Juvien Galano, PUP News, Volume VII, Issue No. 4, February 16-28, 2010

"Implication of Oil Depot to the School and Community Life" was the theme of the forum held at the OVPRD Audio Visual Room of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines Mabini Campus on February 7, 2010. This information dissemination campaign is focused on increasing awareness of the threats posed by the Pandacan Oil Depot in Pandacan, Manila.

Leaders from different organizations gathered in this event to give their insights and ideas about what may happen if disasters involving the oil depot arise. The gathering was opened by a presentation of videos from different parts of the world with accidents, primarily explosions, in oil depots.

As stressed by Mr. Tito Roque, board member of Advocates for Environmental and Social Justice, the countries in the video presentaion do not only meet the minimum requirements but exceeded the security and precautionary facilities and processes to ensure their safety from unexpected circumstances.

This is the same contention the organizers of the forum are trying to bring up aside from the depot's proximity in residential areas and schools. Together with AESJ, the College of Arts Department of Psychology Committee on Extension and Community Outreach, Department of Humanities, Institute of Social History/Research Institute for Politics and Economics, Teachers and Employees Association for Change, Education Reforms, and Solidarity, Inc. were all in unity in the call to relocate the oil depot.

Another issue that was raised and should really be taken into serious consideration by the people who run the Pandacan Oil Depot is its age. The facilities in the 33 hectare land, according to Mr. Roque, are already 94 years old and may be wearing out by now.

AESJ secretary general Mr. Sixto Carlos laid all the propositions on the post-relocation phase of the oil depot. Their organization is suggesting to convert the land area, which is currently housed by three big oil companies Chevron (Caltex), Shell, and Petron, for a low cost housing project for the urban poor. Also, a portion of it may be turned into a commercial area, a school, or probably a hospital.

March of last year, the Supreme Court has released a decision in favor of relocation of the oil depot but a counter action was signed by the City of Manila through City Ordinance 8187 that did not only give right to the oil depot to stay but allowed its management to put up another industry in the vicinity of oil depot compound.

To resolve the issue, the concerned organizations promised to continue to fight for the safety and general welfare of the people of Manila and neighboring cities that are also threatened by existence of the oil depots.