Residents urged to evacuate due to oil spill


Children cover their noses to avoid inhaling the foul odor as Philippine Coast Guard personnel clean a portion of the Pasig River after an oil spilled from a warehouse on Saturday. PHOTO BY EDWIN MULI

Residents of Manila living along the Pasig River were advised to evacuate their homes on Sunday as authorities investigate an oil spill from a warehouse in Santa Ana, Manila.

Outgoing Mayor Alfredo Lim of Manila on Sunday asked residents living in the affected areas to temporarily abandon their homes and go to Pedro Gil or other areas in Manila since too much exposure to the spilled oil could pose a threat to their health.

He also reminded people to seek immediate medical attention if they feel any adverse effect of their exposure to the oil spill.

Meanwhile, personnel of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) placed an oil spill boom on an area that they believe as “ground zero” of the oil spill.

The Manila Police District (MPD), on the other hand, interviewed at least four workers of the warehouse regarding the oil spill.

The MPD cited that some 100 liters of used oil was released into the river after one of the workers allegedly opened the valve as a joke.

In a radio interview, Palace deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte said that the City Government of Manila is the main authority handling the problem.

“From what I understand, the LGU [local government unit]of Manila is a point on this and that they have been exerting efforts,” Valte said, citing that city government already deployed disaster officials to assure the residents that actions were being taken.

According to Gilbert Selestino, head of the Manila Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, the situation is now under control and they have closed the valve in the tank that led to the oil spill.

On Saturday, some residents of Pandacan, Santa Ana, and other areas within the fifth and sixth district of Manila complained about the strong smell of gas in the air, with some suspecting that the smell was the result of a gas leak from the neighboring Pandacan oil depot. The residents immediately sought the help of the authority after the smell became unbearable.

The MPD, City Government of Manila, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Bureau of Fire in Manila and the PCG dispatched their respective teams after receiving the reports.

Initial investigation revealed that the foul smell in the air did not come from a gas leak but from an oil spill.

The report added that an unlicensed warehouse in Manila that stores bunker oil accidentally dispensed 15,000 liters of the said oil into the Pasig River.

At least two residents were brought to a hospital for treatment but have been released early Sunday, the report added.


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