Press Release
April 7, 2011


Zubiri's environment committee orders sufficient compensation package for West Tower residents

Senator Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources that conducted the investigation on the Makati gas pipeline leak, today announced that the Senate has found the First Philippine Industrial Corporation (FPIC) liable for possible violation of the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act and should give compensation package to affected residents.

"The fuel leak brought about by the mongo-sized holes on the surface of the FPIC pipeline undoubtedly cause undue damage and prejudice to the residents of West Tower Condominium and adjoining areas in Barangay Bangkal, Makati City," Zubiri said in his presentation of the draft Senate Committee Report to the media on Thursday.

"This is a test case of environmental degradation. Kailangan po umaksyon na po ang korte dito at ang ating iba't ibang executive offices like the DENR and other agencies tasked by government to implement the laws. We need to implement these laws, if not, I am worried that more industries might abuse their powers, abuse their reach among our friends in the different agencies concerned and therefore more abuses like these could happen in the future," he reiterated.

West Tower residents who flocked to the Senate cheered upon hearing Zubiri's statement saying they were thankful that "the Senate especially Senator Zubiri stood by his promise to be fair and impartial throughout the investigation."

The Senate further recommends the inspection of the whole stretch of the 42-year-old pipeline which transports approximately 60% of petroleum requirements of Metro Manila and parts of Bulacan, Laguna and Rizal.

"The fact that the FPIC failed miserably to discover the cause of the leak despite an existing maintenance and inspection system raises a cause for alarm. There is therefore an imperative need to inspect the whole stretch of the FPIC pipeline to ensure that the same does not pose threat to the lives of many Filipinos," the Zubiri committee report said.

To address the seeming lack of law regulating pipelines, Zubiri also filed today Senate Bill 2788 or the act creating a National Pipeline Board that will oversee the maintenance of oil and gas pipelines in the country.

"Ang problema po wala po tayong batas na nag-su-supervise dito sa ating oil pipelines kaya po nagfile tayo ng panukalang batas sa araw na ito na nagbibigay ng clear cut guidelines sa mga ahensya ng gobyerno dahil nagtuturuan din po ang ahensya ng gobyerno nuong nagsagawa tayo ng pagdinig. This measure already puts in place the different standards required for companies that are involved in this type of industries. Napakahalaga po nito may standards na po na inilagay natin at mayroon po tayong penalties na napakabigat kapag hindi sila sumunod dito," the Bukidnon solon explained.

The Senate also recommended the following:

  • FPIC should shoulder the expenses for the clean-up operations within the West Tower Condominium and adjoining areas affected by the fuel leak. Necessarily, FPIC should forward the appropriate reimbursements for the amount already expended by the West Tower Management in the conduct of the same.

  • FPIC must present a detailed and specific clean-up plan that must contain a definitive statement as to the steps and strategies to be taken which must be strictly followed and observed.

  • Appropriate action must be undertaken by concerned government agencies as regards possible violations of the Clean Air Act and/or Clean Water Act.

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