Press Release
March 9, 2007


Senator Mar Roxas, chairman of the Senate committee on economic affairs, urged the Office of the President to put together an integrated plan to ensure a smooth, fair and orderly execution of the Supreme Court order for the closure of the oil depot in Pandacan, Manila.

Wheres the plan? Government has to step in to assure the public that their lives will not be disrupted nor their budgets affected by the closure of this decades-old oil depot, the senator stressed.

Roxas noted the apprehension of consumers that the relocation costs involved in the transfer of the oil depot will be passed on to them by the countrys top three oil companies, namely, Petron Corporation, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation, and Chevron (formerly Caltex).

The three oil companies operate the depot, which can currently hold about 170 million liters of oil, supplies half of the countrys fuel requirements and 90 percent of Metro Manila s.

Such a plan, Roxas said, should contain how the government intends to address problems that could be caused by the transfer of the depot: additional costs due to the transfer, displacement of workers in the depot, as well as other social costs. Roxas said that a plan should have already been in the works after the government of Manila passed a resolution ordering the dismantling of the Pandacan Oil Depot.

I urge the Office of the President to create an inter-agency task force composed of key officials to provide clearer answers to the public on how the SC order will be carried out, Roxas said, adding that the government must make sure that consumers interests and the rights of the workers employed in the Pandacan oil depot are also protected.

The senator noted that there is also a security aspect involved in the moving out phase for oil tankers.

This may be too big a transfer for simply the local government of Manila to oversee. Without an integrated approach, this move will affect not only the residents of Pandacan but Filipino consumers and the business community as well, the senator pointed out.

The senator said the DENR and DOE should also look into how and where the three oil companies plan to transfer to make sure that the new site will not endanger the safety of existing communities.

The Supreme Court recently ordered the closure of the Pandacan oil depot citing the dangers that the 30-hectare facility posed to residents. The order came after a petition was filed by the Social Justice Society and Manila residents Vladimir Cabigao and Bonifacio Tumbokon for the enforcement of City Ordinance 8027. The said ordinance, which called for the dismantling of the depot. was enacted in November 2001 following the September 11 terror attacks that brought down the World Trade Center .

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