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Pandacan oil depot: Palace hands off

May 27, 2009 06:48 PM Wednesday [ ]

By: Hector Lawas Tess Bedico

JUSTICE Secretary Raul Gonzalez yesterday said that MalacaƱang has adopted a “hands-off policy” on the Pandacan oil depot, saying the issue is for the Manila government to decide.

“Our position in the Cabinet is that this is a local matter and there is a Local Government Code that should be followed. We will not interfere,” Gonzalez said in an interview.

The justice chief issued the statement after Cabinet members led by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita yesterday met with Mayor Alfredo Lim and gave their inputs on a city council resolution allowing the stay of the oil depots in Pandacan.

The Cabinet was unanimous in coming up with the decision tossing the fate of the depot to the city government of Manila.

Lim, secretary to the mayor Rafaelito Garayblas and chief of staff Ric de Guzman were met by Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, National Security Adviser Roberto Gonzales, Trade and Industry Secretary Teodoro Favila, Transportation and Communications Secretary Leandro Mendoza and Labor Secretary Marianito Roque.

Gonzalez clarified that it was Lim who sought their advice on the issue before he decides on whether to sign or veto Ordinance 7177, which reclassifies Pandacan as industrial zone.

Lim said he has yet to reach a decision but will be guided by the “rationale of the greater number for the greatest good.”

The mayor must act on the resolution on or before May 28.

He confirmed that majority of the Cabinet members expressed their concern on the negative impact of relocating the depot to the local pump prices of gasoline, the displacement of workers and loss of investor confidence.


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