FACES celebrated the New Year with our Philippines partners at AESJ (Advocates for Environmental & Social Justice)in Pandacan, metro Manila. It’s Filipino tradition to ring in the New Year with fireworks, but Makati (near Manila) was banned from setting any sparks for fear of igniting an explosion from the big-news leaking gas pipeline below. FACES research actually shows that Makati is only one of many towns along the national highway in Luzon where the major oil & gas pipeline runs through—and it leads to the massive Pandacan oil depot.
“It’s like they’re lighting a fuse of a bomb,” warned a resident at the AESJ-sponsored community forum on January 13, where the Makati gas leak is a hazardous line leading up to the “bomb that is the Pandacan oil depots.” Over 50 community members from different neighborhoods in metro Manila gathered to infuse energy into the depot relocation campaign. FACES board reps, Aileen & Mari Rose, shared with them research maps and investigative photos of the oil & gas pipeline that traced back to Chevron’s gas plant in Palawan, to Shell’s oil refinery in Batangas, ending in Pandacan. The oil depot relocation campaign truly is a national issue.
As Aileen & Mari Rose toured the massive oil tank field in Pandacan, residents reminded us of their neighborhood’s rich history & culture whose value is beyond the depots. They have the famous author Balagtas, the Aglipayan Church who protested Spanish priest abuses, even the Santo Nino festival (Buling-buling) mentioned in the Filipino folk song “Sitsiritsit”. Pandacan is a gem worth preserving.
Launched in 2000, the Filipino/American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity (FACES) works towards environmental justice within communities in the United States and the Philippines through advocacy, service and organizing.