On the morning of June 23, residents experiencing foul fumes brought to authorities’ attention a massive oil spill in the Santa Ana and Pandacan areas of the Pasig river in Manila. Over 44000 liters of used oil and 4000 liters of sludge oil spilled directly into the river from a burst pipe connected to a large tank of a privately owned oil depot.
This disaster is merely one more example of the serious hazards residents living next to these oil facilities must endure. For years, Manila residents have faced the dangers of spills, leaks, and fires, including the catastrophic leakage of the aging FPIC pipeline in 2010.
FACES in solidarity with our Manila-based partner, Advocates for Environmental and Social Justice, call for the relocation and cleanup of the Pandacan oil depot to ensure the future safety of residents. This incident poses another opportunity for local and national officials to work together with the Pandacan community to clean-up and rehabilitate the area’s parks, rivers, and human environment.
In October of 2012, the Manila City Council approved Ordinance 8283 to once again reclassify the area in which the Pandacan oil depots sit into a commercial zone, requiring the relocation of the depots. In light of this recent oil spill, FACES urges the City of Manila and the Office of President Aquino to enforce the will of the people of Manila and of the 2007 and 2008 Philippine Supreme Court decisions ordering the removal of the oil depots.
As this most recent catastrophe has made evident, the oil depots pose a clear and present danger to the lives of Pandacan residents and neighbors, including Malacañang Palace. While we applaud Malacañang’s serious attention to the spill, we encourage no further delay in moving forward a relocation plan that addresses the concerns of the community and ensures the safety of residents.