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Supreme Court Orders Pandacan Oil Depot Transfer

The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday ordered the Pandacan oil depot in Manila to relocate as it poses risks to the public.

“The continued stay of oil depots placed the residents of Manila in danger of being terrorist target,” Theodore Te, public information chief of the High Court said in a news briefing.

In a 10-2 vote, the tribunal ruled that Ordinance 8187, which allowed the continued stay of the oil depot, is unconstitutional.

“The incumbent mayor of the City of Manila is hereby ordered to cease and desist from enforcing Ordinance 8187. In coordination with the appropriate government agencies and the parties hereto involved, he is further ordered to oversee the relocation and transfer of the oil terminals out of the Pandacan area,” the SC said.

Pilipinas Shell, Chevron, and Petron, the three private respondents to the case, were ordered to submit their comprehensive relocation plan and schedule to the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 39 within 45 days.

The SC said the comprehensive plan and relocation schedule should be completed no
later than six months from the date the required documents were submitted.

The parties involved have 15 days to file a motion for reconsideration.

The High Court said the oil depot had to be relocated because it violates the “the right to health and the right to a healthful and balanced environment” of the people living near it.

Those who questioned the ordinance were lawyers Vladimir Cabigao and Samson Alcantara of the Social Justice Society (now Abakada Guro partylist group), Buhay partylist Rep. Lito Atienza, and former Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante.

The group noted that the SC itself has already established that the oil depot in Pandacan stores 313.5 million liters of highly flammable and highly volatile products, which include petroleum gas, aviation fuel, diesel, gasoline, kerosene and fuel oil.

Atienza, a former Manila mayor, initiated the removal of the oil depot after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the US with the passage of Ordinance 8027, reclassifying the Pandacan area from industrial to commercial, citing the numerous hazards posed by the depot.

“We are very happy that the Supreme Court saw this through, ensuring the protection of thousands of lives and property and upholding the legality and good intentions of our Ordinance 8027,” Atienza said, lauding the decision.