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Make former oil depot ecofriendly

12:02 AM April 19, 2016

WE ARE former and current residents of Pandacan; members and officers of people’s organizations, NGOs, businesses and institutions related to Pandacan and surrounding communities; and officials, faculty members and employees of Polytechnic University of the Philippines, who remain keenly interested in the development of the former oil depot in Pandacan, Manila.

We thank Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada for supporting our call to have the depot relocated. His firm stand and action ensured the proper implementation of the November 2014 Supreme Court decision directing the relocation of the Pandacan oil depot for health and safety reasons.

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We also appreciate the mayor’s decision to involve civil society in the monitoring of the dismantling of the depot and of the remediation and redevelopment of the 33-hectare former oil depot.

Knowing that the city government under Estrada’s stewardship would, in one way or the other, influence the direction of the redevelopment of this prime real estate, we would like to propose the construction of, what to our minds, are appropriate, people-oriented and ecofriendly projects on this property:

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1. A cultural center, the former depot being within Pandacan, a historic and culturally-inclined district. The cultural center could serve as a venue for honoring the heroes (Jacinto Zamora, Ladislao Bonus, Francisco Balagtas, Jacinto Ciria Cruz) and accomplished personalities of Pandacan (Dr. Paz Mendoza-Guazon, Librada Avelino, Lope K. Santos) as well as for holding modest cultural events.

2. Low-cost, socialized housing units. This area having been a profitable host to giant corporations for a long time, we feel that it is time a part of it was allotted to the needs of our kababayan in the city, who do not have homes or who lack proper homes.

3. A modest green park, with pathways and greeneries, especially along the banks of the Pasig River.

We further suggest that all projects—be they for business, residential, recreation or other purposes—be undertaken only after a thorough remediation/cleanup drive to ensure that the environment is healthy and safe. Moreover, all the projects should be done within the framework of sound urban planning.

We refrain from suggesting anything about commerce or industry for we know that even without this proposal, business establishments will surely vie for a place inside the former depot—something most welcome to the community in terms of providing employment and opening up opportunities for local entrepreneurs. All we ask of businesses and government is that they ensure or prioritize the employment of residents from the surrounding communities and the protection of the community from the hazards of pollution.

In this regard, we are prepared to meet with the mayor and concerned officials so we can elaborate on this proposal and discuss its merits.

—SIXTO CARLOS JR., general secretary, Advocates for Environmental and Social Justice; WITH 49 OTHER SIGNATORIES

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TAGS: depot, ecology, environment, Joseph Estrada, letter, oil depot, opinion, Pandacan
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