For this blog post, I would like to express my sentiments regarding the issue about the Oil Depots encompassing all the recent events. Consider this as my final stand on the issue as this will be the final time that I will write about it.
Just recently, I read an article that Mayor Alfredo Lim vetoed the Ordinance to change the Oil Depot Area from Heavy Industrial to Mixed Commercial. Honestly, I am quite delighted with the news. Finally, someone with the right mindset.
October 25, 2012. The Oil Depot issue was tackled by Prof. Winnie Monsod in her segment in Unang Hirit. Commenting on the issue were Mayor Alfredo Lim via Phone Patch and Councilor Jong Isip, the spokesperson for those who drafted the Ordinance.
After watching the segment, it is evident that in the surface the prime motivation for the passing of the Ordinance is the issue of SAFETY. This actually is the same point of an acquaintance in our publicly published debate in facebook.
I stand firm in what I said. If we are to remove the Oil Depots in Pandacan because of the perceive Terrorist Threat, then we should remove ALL Gasoline Stations in the Metro as well. The Primary function of the Oil Depots are storage and distribution. Gas stations are in essense small scale Oil Depots, hence they have the same function. Therefore, any threat that you can think of with the Oil Depots can be associated with the Gas stations scattered all over the metro.
If they really are scared of the Terrorist threat in the depots, I suggest they create an ordinance that will provide additional security for the area. Or better, ask the national government to provide it. Since Terrorist threat is a national issue not a local one.
Councilor Isip cited two additional scenarios that deemed the Oil Depots as Hazards. He spoke of the incident where an Oil Tanker Truck had an accident while it was on its way back to the Depot; Also, he cited the leakage of gas in the Condominum along SLEX.
I believe Mayor Lim effortlessly countered the first scenario. He mentioned that since the Depots function as storage and distribution hub, if it were removed, then a swarm of 2000 trucks will be coming and going to the Batangas Refineries (Chevron, Shell). Since the storage and distribution facility is gone, all the trucks will be coming from the provinces which will cause a big traffic jam in SLEX and of course an increase in utility cost for the Oil Companies which will be converted to increase in Oil Prices.
I would like to add that the Petron Refinery is in Bataan so kindly add the traffic jams in Pampanga and in NLEX starting at the San Fernando Exit. Also Expressways will be subject to very heavy loads than usual everyday as there will be increase in the number of Oil Tankers using them, It will then turn to Toll increase since the Toll Companies will need to maintain the roads as often as possible.
For the second scenario, I believe that this is a separate issue. That long Pipe that connects the Oil Depots to the Tabangao plants is owned by a third party company. It is not owned by neither Chevron nor Shell. I believe it is owned by the Ayala Company, since there is the word "First" in its name. Therefore the Oil Companies that "rent" the use of the long pipe is not responsible for the maintenance of the pipe. Hence, the negligence of the owning company should not be blamed on the lessee companies.
One question that I think was brilliantly asked goes something like this: "You passed the ordinance that repealed the earlier ordinance that converts the whole area to a Commercial Zone, now your passing another ordinance that amends this ordinance to convert a small portion of land that is occupied by the Oil Depots. Why?" That's not in verbatim.
If I recall correctly, Councilor ISip expressed that at the time, the reason why the City Council drafted the oridnance to repeal the ordinance that changes Pandancan to Commercial because there was a need to establish an Industrial Zone. Now, since there is an issue of safety with the Oil Depots, they drafted this new ordinance because of the people's "Right to life".
Okay, I would react on this, regarding the safety issue, it's already old news. Kindly reread my earlier sentiments about it above. I would attack this in a legislative point of view. I believe that the same people who passed the earlier repealing ordinance are the same people who passed this amending ordinance.
The repealing ordinance is for the establishment of an industrial zone. Therefore, the Councilors already had the power to set the boundaries in which the area in Pandacan will be considered as part of the Zone. If they considered the Oil Depots as a big safety threat, they should have already excluded the area of the Oil Depots as part of the Industrial Zone to have them removed. I believe that the reason for the drafting of the repealed Ordinance is also the same as this amending ordinance: SAFETY. Yet they included the area of the Oil Depots in the industrial Zone. It is inexcusable if they will say that they didn't thought of the safety issue during the drafting of the repealing ordinance since that is the main of the those against that particular Ordinance.
Why the change of heart? I agree with Prof. Winnie Monsod that that this is more political than a safety threat issue.
Next, I will answer the main point of my debate opponent in Facebook. Although I had this ready after his rebuttal in may last statement, I thought not replying anymore since a Third Party acted as a Middleman. I will finally answer it here.
His point rests on the idea that the Big Three will enjoy more profits if they are to move the facilities to the province. This is because of the low cost of living in the provinces. Therefore, operational cost regarding wages and utilities will be much smaller.
The fact is, the Big Three's main plants are already located in the provinces. As mentioned earlier, Chevron and Shell have their Refineries in Batangas while Petron has its plant in Bataan. Again, the depots act as storage and distribution hub which is essential in planning distribution routes and forecasting costs.
In general, companies have its manufacturing plants in the provinces because of the obvious reasons, as stated by my opponent, of lower operations cost. But they still have DEPOTS in the metro that acts as storage and distribution hubs.
Going to the prime example of my opponent, Coca-Cola Philippines moved its facility from Manila to Laguna. I believe this is his best example of a company migrating to the provinces. Well, yes the Coca Cola Philippines transferred its facilities there but it still has a "depot" in the metro.
If you will go to Pasig, near Eastwood, you will come across a Coca-Cola Distribution Area. Yes, it functions like a DEPOT. It acts as a storage and distribution facility just like what the Oil Depots in Pandacan.
Another example is San Miguel Brewery. It has its manufacturing facility in Laguna yet it has two DEPOTS, one in QC behind TIP, and one in Valenzuela. Liwayway Marketing has a plant in Cavite yet the finished products are shipped to its main office and storage facility in Pasay.
I can go on and on but the fact remains: DEPOTS in the metro are a must regarless of industry of a manufacturing company. It provides storage and quantifyable stocks so as to project the amount of products to ensure continuous supply in the market.
A few weeks ago, I heard a rumor that one of the Big Three is tranferring its Depot facility in the North Harbor here in Tondo. Well, if Pandacan don't want them, we will welcome them with open arms here in Tondo! We will enjoy the fruits of the Social projects of the company.
Also, I think will be a good move since the facility will be located in the West Philiipine sea and is already at seaside. They can use bigger barges to transfer the petroleum products since the barges don;t need to pass through the Pasig River anymore.
Oh well. One disaster averted. For now.