OIL giant Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. is determined to keep its storage facilities in Pandacan, Manila, maintaining that the oil terminal is still “safe.”
Pilipinas Shell country president Ed Chua said the company has already filed a motion for reconsideration (MR) of the November decision of the Supreme Court shutting down the Pandacan oil depot.
“We filed an MR with SC because we’re coming from the view that Pandacan is safe,” Chua told reporters.
Chua said the company will present experts to testify whether the facility is safe or not.
“We get experts to say whether it’s safe or unsafe. That’s why we asked for an MR,” he added.
He noted that when the SC, then under former Chief Justice Renato Corona, originally heard the case against the terminal, no expert witness was ever called.
“So it’s all perception, mostly emotions. What we want is to be given the opportunity to present expert witnesses,” said Chua.
The November SC ruling specifically declared unconstitutional Manila city Ordinance 8187, which was passed in 2009. The ordinance undid an earlier resolution of the Manila city council, Ordinance 8027 passed in 2001, which pushed for the relocation of the terminal due to the danger to the community from potential accidents or a terrorist attack.
Ordinance 8027, upheld by the most recent SC decision, reclassified the area as a commercial zone while Ordinance 8187 declared the district a heavy industrial zone.
No plans yet
Although Shell is intent on maintaining the Pandacan facility, Chua stressed that once experts and the court declare that the oil depot is no longer safe, Shell will be the first to close it down.
Since there is a pending case in court, however, Chua said the company has no relocation plans yet.
“We have no relocation plans, people think that if we close, we will relocate somewhere, we will not,” he said.
He expressed the fear that many will be adversely affected by the closure of the depot.
“You will simply close the facility and people will unfortunately be jobless,” he said.
At the same time, Chua said Shell would incur significant costs if it is obliged to relocate the facility.
“It’s a major expense and where will you relocate?” he said.
If Shell relocates to the South, Chua said they would just use their refinery in Batangas.
Will honor SC decision on MR
Chua, however, stressed that Shell would shut down its facility in Pandacan if they lose the case in court.
“If we lose, we lose, we shut down the facility,” he said.
Shell currently maintains 50 percent of their local supply in the Pandacan depot.