Caltex Philippines Inc., Petron Corp. and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. took a major step forward in the scale down and development of the Pandacan oil terminal when their chief executives formalized the engagement of renowned urban planner to provide the detailed design and master plan for the Pandacan Linear Park.
The park forms part of the safety buffer zone that will separate the terminal from the surrounding communities, providing greater safety and security to the residents in the area.
This is in accordance with a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the three oil firms with the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Manila City government. The MOU also provide for a 40 percent reduction of operations at the terminal.
Energy officials, led by Secretary Vicente Perez, witnessed the ceremonies. Present on behalf of Mayor Lito Atienza were lawyer Emmanuel Sison, secretary to the mayor and lawyer Melchor Monsod, Manila City legal counsel.
"The master plan for the development of the Pandacan Linear Park has been put in place," said architect Felino Palafox Jr., who was also tasked by the Manila City government to undertake the city’s urban renewal program under Atienza’s "Buhayin Natin ang Maynila" cleanliness and beautification campaign.
"Currently, we are working on the more detailed site development plan, and on site engineering. What we are doing here with the oil companies, under the guidance of the DOE and the leadership of Manila, is environmental improvement," Palafox said.
Monsod acknowledged the substantial compliance by the oil majors to the provisions of the MOU.
"I think this aspect (Linear Park) of the MOU is a major element and substantially addresses the concerns of City Ordinance 8027," Monsod said. "So, hopefully, the community and the authors of the ordinance will be at least happy to note that the commitments are being complied with."
Ordinance 8027 reclassifies the Pandacan terminal area from an industrial into a commercial and recreational zone, in effect requiring the oil majors to remove their facilities from the area. Recognizing how greatly the removal of the terminal would impact the supply of fuel products and the general economy, the DOE, city government and the three firms agreed that a phased reduction of the terminal was the most viable means of providing a win-win solution to the matter. The three parties, thus, entered into the MOU.
"Apart from the aesthetic value, it (Linear Park) has a security impact," Monsod said. "And that was the main concern of the ordinance; two things: security and development."
"The direction being undertaken is a win-win situation that is very positive," added Palafox. "We are looking at various approaches addressing the need for security, the protection of the environment, the need to consider the urban fabric of Metro Manila.
The scale down program involves the removal of 28 storage tanks from the terminal and the establishment of joint operations by the three companies.