FACES Supports Residents Impacted by Pasig River Spill – Urges City of Manila and Malacañang Palace to Enforce Relocation of Oil Depots

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.

CHEVRON NEGLIGENCE LEADS TO DISASTER FOR RICHMOND COMMUNITY

A series of explosions at the Chevron oil refinery in Richmond, California, produced fires that spewed enormous plumes of smoke into the region’s skies for several hours on Monday, August 6.

The Filipino American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity is relieved that the disaster led to no loss of life. However FACES condemns Chevron corporation for its negligence and inability to provide adequate warning to local residents.

This disaster is unfortunately not out-of-the-ordinary for the multi-billion dollar trans-national corporation. Previous fires have occured multiple times at the Richmond refinery once in 1999 and again in 2007. Communities all over the world also face the disastrous health impacts of living on the fence-line of Chevron’s operations.

This month marks the two-year anniversary of the discovery of a massive pipeline leak underneath the West Tower Condominiums in the Bangkal neighborhood, Makati City, Philippines. The leak was detected in a pipeline utilized by Chevron to transport fuel to its Manila oil depots. The West Tower condominium is still unfit for occupancy and remediation has been inadequate, as more than 1 million liters of fuel remain in the ground.

This week’s disaster and Chevron’s continued hazardous practices showcase the corporation’s willingness to prioritize profits over the livelihood and health of communities. FACES joins Richmond residents and allies in holding Chevron accountable for the unacceptable health risks their operations pose.

FACES calls Chevron to fully disclose and remediate the causes of the refinery fire, compensate community members for health costs associated with the fire, and end the corporation’s hazardous operations in Richmond, Manila, and fence-line communities all over the world.

Please join us and our allies in demanding that CEO John Watson and Chevron Corporation take all necessary steps to ensure that a disaster like this never happens again.