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PHILIPPINES: Court orders removal of oil storage facilities

by Gilbert FelongcoGulf News
March 8th, 2007

Citing threats to the inhabitants of a thickly populated area, the Supreme Court yesterday ordered the removal of three major oil storage facilities in the city.

Justice Renato Corona ordered Caltex Philippines Inc, Petron Corporation and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation "to cease operations" of the oil storage facility within a period of six months.

The verdict came at the end of the six-year legal battle between the oil companies and a group concerned about the presence of a key oil facility in the middle of the city in Pandacan district.

The petroleum and oil facility is situated in the heart of the city where nearly a million people live and is just across the Pasig River where the seat of government, the Malacanang Presidential Palace, is located.

In enforcing the order, the Supreme Court cited a 2001 city ordinance calling for the transfer of the depot to a safer location.

"It was within the delegated power of local government to promote order, safety and general welfare of society," the Supreme Court said.

The court also ordered Manila Mayor Lito Atienza to enforce a city ordinance which calls for the removal of businesses disallowed by the ordinance.

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