Court still awaits Pandacan exit plan from ‘Big 3’
Despite the order from the Supreme Court, the three biggest oil companies in the country have yet to reveal what they plan to do to comply with an SC decision compelling them leave the Pandacan oil depot in Manila as soon as possible.
This was according to an official of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 39, which was tasked by the tribunal to receive “updated comprehensive plans and relocation schedules” from Petron Corp., Chevron Philippines and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp.
“We have yet to receive the relocation plans from the three oil companies,” said an RTC official, noting that the original deadline for them to submit was on Jan. 15.
The local court, in consideration of the holidays that were declared in connection with the recent visit of Pope Francis from Jan. 15 to 19, moved the deadline to Jan. 20.
But the oil firms missed it again, said the court official, who declined to be named for lack of clearance to talk to the media on the matter. “We had to take into account those holidays, because nobody would be here to receive their filings. But it appears that despite the extension, we have not received the documents that the Supreme Court ordered them to submit.”
In a Nov. 25 decision, the Supreme Court upheld the validity of Ordinance No. 8027, which was enacted in 2001 during the term of then Manila Mayor Lito Atienza, calling for the removal of the “Big 3” oil facilities from the depot due to the dangers they pose to the surrounding residential community.
It also nullified Ordinance No. 8187, enacted during the time of Atienza’s successor, Alfredo Lim, which allowed the oil companies to stay put.
In the decision written by Associate Justice Jose Portugal Perez, the high court cited the need for the “removal of the danger to life, not the mere subdual of risk of catastrophe,” in upholding the city’s decision ordering the oil companies to leave.
The high court also shared the view that the depot could be a “terrorist target.”
The decision gave the oil firms six months from the submission of the required documents to leave Pandacan.
Incumbent Mayor Joseph Estrada has given the oil companies until July this year to comply with the Supreme Court order.
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