MANILA, June 24, 2013— A Catholic bishop is hoping the election of Joseph Estrada, as new Manila mayor will be a step forward in resolving concerns surrounding the Pandacan oil depot.

DSC_9230 web

In 2009, Pandacan residents staged a rally in protest of the city ordinance  that allowed the retention of the oil depot in the area.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said it is time for the city government to relocate the controversial oil depot from the highly populated district.

“Definitely, we will talk to them (Estrada administration) and make an appeal,” said Pabillo, who also chairs the CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (Nassa).

The Pandacan oil depot hosts the facilities of Shell, Petron and Chevron (Caltex).

The Archdiocese of Manila and Nassa have been calling for the relocation of the oil depot since 2009, citing health and public safety as their primary concerns.

Former Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales even led a signature campaign to pressure outgoing Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim to oppose an ordinance allowing the retention of the oil depot.

Catholic bishops in Manila have started a signature drive to pressure Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim to veto an ordinance allowing the retention of the Pandacan oil depot.

“They keep saying that they get the city’s budget from the taxes (of the oil depot) but it really does not help environmentally and health wise, particularly to the community of around 80,000 to 90,000 [inside the depot],” lamented Pabillo.

The prelate made the statement Monday after the oil spill incident at the Pasig River along Sta. Ana, Manila.

Residents near the facility had complained of a foul smell and some were even brought to a hospital after having difficulty in breathing.

City officials, however, claimed that the incident was not connected to the oil depot in Pandacan but from a spill of used oil from a warehouse in Sta. Ana, Manila.

“At least, it was just an oil spill. What if these oil depots explode?” asked Pabillo. (CBCPNews)