DINALUPIHAN, Bataan: The town mayor here on Thursday asked Clark Pipeline & Depot Company to temporarily suspend its operations while the estimated 94-kilometer oil pipeline has not been fully inspected.
At the same time, Mayor Maria Angela Garcia said she has advised the barangay (village) chairmen of Tucop, Pagalanggang, San Simon and Old San Jose to conduct a house-to-house campaign to remind residents of the ban on firecrackers in their villages.
“Tell people not to light firecrackers as they welcome the New Year to ensure the safety of everyone while the problem with the oil leak has not been completely remedied,” she told village officials.
Garcia said Clark Pipeline informed her that the fuel carried by the pipeline at the time of the leak was not flammable. “But just the same, I would reiterate the ban on firecrackers.”
Workers at the pipeline said the leaking oil was Jet 2 fuel, which is similar to kerosene.
“While there is no guarantee that there will be no oil leaks in the future, I enjoin the company to temporarily suspend their operations to avoid a potentially big disaster that will compromise the air, the water, crops, and most especially the health of people in the barangay,” Garcia said.
She disclosed that she has written Clark Pipeline about the municipality’s request for suspension of operations, copy-furnished the departments of Environment and Natural Resources and Public Works and Highways as well as the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and the Clark Development Corporation.
Garcia said she was still waiting for Clark Pipeline’s reply as of Friday.
The latest gas leak was discovered on Thursday last week at a river below a big bridge dividing the villages of Tucop and Pagalanggang.
The pipeline company responded after the leak was brought to its attention but the source of the leak is yet to be located.
Workers were collecting oil residues from the contained excavated portion of the river.
The mayor described the oil leaks as already quite alarming, considering that there have been other incidents of oil leakages this year and the previous one.
Leaks this year were recorded in Barangay San Ramon; in May in Barangay Luakan; and in August, in San Ramon again.
Clark Pipeline took over the administration of the oil pipeline after the Americans left the former US Naval Base in 1992.
Built in 1966, the pipeline runs from Subic to Clark Airbase in Angeles City.
ERNIE B. ESCONDE