MANILA, March 13, 2015—Seeing it as a “disaster waiting to happen,” the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has welcomed with joy the news that the Supreme Court (SC) has finally ordered the eviction of the oil depot from Pandacan, Manila.
In an interview over Church-run Radyo Veritas recently, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo, chair of CBCP’s Permanent Committee on Public Affairs (PCPA), expressed hope that the ruling on Tuesday will take effect immediately in the interest of public safety.
He said once it is moved to a location where it can do the least harm, the 33-hectare industrial compound, which petroleum giants Pilipinas Shell, Petron, and Chevron had built by the Pasig River, will no longer pose a threat to Pandacan residents.
The prelate further explained the Philippine Catholic hierarchy has always lobbied for the transfer of the storage facility given that the damage it can cause is real, especially if unexpected calamities like strong earthquakes and fires, and even terror attacks, hit Manila, potentially killing countless.
“The SC decision should be enforced as soon as possible. Let us not wait for something bad to happen before we decide to act on it,” he shared.
According to Pabillo, the oil firms, as well as the city government of Manila, have no choice but to comply with the SC decision.
“It’s absolutely unacceptable that there is an oil depot sitting right in the middle of Metro Manila,” he added. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)