A war against the oil depots in Pandacan, Manila has been waging for weeks now. This is about Draft Ordinance 7177 amending Ordinance 8027. Ordinance 8027 changes Pandacan and Sta. Ana areas from industrial to commercial zones. This will force the industrial companies in the said areas to shutdown their facility or relocate to another place. This is amended by Draft Ordinance 7177, which allows the industrial facilities to remain in their present location.
A lot of people/groups/institutions expressed their violent sentiments when Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim signed Ordinance 7177. Issues such as pollution, health effects, and security reasons where aired. I recall that at first, Mayor Lim was reluctant to sign the said ordinance. Considering that the passing of the ordinance made such a ruckus. But in the end, Mayor Lim signed the ordinance even stating that he shall sign the ordinance because the people are asking him to do so.
There are many factors that should be considered 1st before making a comment on this issue. I will admit that as of now I don't have full understanding of this issue. But as a matter of argument. I would like to stress some of my points.
In the issue of environmental concern, I think the reason is pretty lame. People are citing the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. But do they know that there are provisions in the act the permits industries to discharge their effluents to the surroundings provided that the effluent and the gas emission is in the regulated quality? As a Chemical Engineering student, I had a course in Environmental Science and Engineering. I know for a fact that there are personnel called as Pollution Control Officer in every Industry in the country. They are the ones in charge of treating their wastes so that they become more acceptable for discharge to the environment. It is against environmental laws if any industry would discharge effluents and smoke outside of the regulated quality. I think that it is better to just pressure all the industries in the Industrial zone, most especially the Big three, to put an effort in treating their wastewater and smoke before discharging them to the surroundings.
Morality. It is a known fact that the industrial zone has been there for a long time, they have institutionalize themselves in that area. Forcing them to relocate to another area is not only inhumane but unjust. I'll admit that I am not a suitable person to speak of morality but I would like to point out the Church (Catholic) shouldn't use the faith the people working in the industries just to bring them down. I find it very unethical and to some extent immoral. The Church should not interfere with this kind of problems because the people concerned are having dilemma. Are they going to follow the will of God (or some people saying to be man of God when in truth they are not) or are they going to save themselves from starvation?
Health Reasons. It was a risk living there in the vicinity. It is one of the negative effect in living near industrialized zones. I don't have a strong stand with regards with this issue but I believe that the government whether local or national should pass law that will give a minimum perimeter of which residential areas should be far away from industries. Hear me? Councilors? Senators? Congressmen?
Commercial. The relocation of the Oil Depots will have a strong impact in fuel oil prices. First, let us discuss what is an Oil Depot for? An Oil Depot is an industrial facility for storing petrochemical products. They are usually in a form of large tanks above or below ground. They are usually near oil refineries or near a port for easy discharge of products. In this sense, an oil depot is just a container for petrochemical reserves. Included is gasoline. After the transfer of products from water vessel tanker to depot, then the depot will transfer them to land vessels for transport to the different gas stations in Metro Manila. Imagine these reserves were to be relocated outside Manila or Metro Manila. Then the cost for fuel will rise because the land vessels will come from the provinces. I am not an expert in this field but I think despite the promise of commercialism in Pandacan, it will just result to just a higher oil price of which the price commodities that will be sold to those commercial lands are relative.
Security. It is just plain pessimistic that the demonstrators voicing for the relocation of the oil depots because it is a threat to their safety. What if terrorists attacks and bombs the depots? I mean, the oil depots were there long before most of them are born. It was there even during the Japanese invasion. May I remind them that petroleum is one of the most expensive commodity in the world. Even if bombing the oil depots are one of the best options for them to do, even they will suffer the consequences of their actions because we thrive from that energy giving commodity. A shortage of oil will mean virtually no transportation system because mostly all of our transport systems needs energy/oil.
Politics. I think that filing of case against Manila officials by the DENR is backed by a political motive. It is well known that the present DENR Secretary is the immediate past Manila City Mayor. And I believe that they will once again have their showdown in the coming local elections, and this issue will be the main point of Atienza's campaign as well as some other issues that the present Mayor has failed to address.
Misinformation. It is not only the Big Three that will be affected by the change to commercial zone. There are other "non-toxic" industries that will be affected. Manufacturing companies that give a source of living to many of our manual labor kababayans. I wish that the people should be informed that the oil depots that will relocate but also these manufacturing companies. And I don't think that some of those demonstrators know that. Even a League of Kagawads who held a forum about the relocation of Oil Depots didn;t say a word about these other companies in their flyer.
In the end, education is still the best weapon against these kind of things. I really wish will be more informed about the matter so that it will stop these meaningless debates about the industries.