Lito Atienza's Blog

PRO-OIL DEPOT ORDINANCE QUESTIONED BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT | June 15, 2009

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Lito Atienza (in tropical shirt) submits to the clerk of court of the Supreme Court (SC) in Manila documents pertaining to charges he filed against Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, Vice-Mayor Isko Moreno and majority of the city’s councilors for approving Manila Ordinance No. 8187 which allows highly pollutive and extremely hazardous industries and the oil depot to permanently stay in Pandacan. Atienza also filed a petition to the Supreme Court for the issuance of a restraining order to prevent the implementation of the controversial ordinance. Accompanying Atienza are Manila 6th district councilors Joey Uy (center) and Bonjay Isip-Garcia

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Lito Atienza (in tropical shirt) submits to the clerk of court of the Supreme Court (SC) in Manila documents pertaining to charges he filed against Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, Vice-Mayor Isko Moreno and majority of the city’s councilors for approving Manila Ordinance No. 8187 which allows highly pollutive and extremely hazardous industries and the oil depot to permanently stay in Pandacan. Atienza also filed a petition to the Supreme Court for the issuance of a restraining order to prevent the implementation of the controversial ordinance. Accompanying Atienza are Manila 6th district councilors Joey Uy (center) and Bonjay Isip-Garcia

Being true to my commitment to protect the country’s environment and natural resources, I, as a resident and former Mayor of Manila, filed charges before the Supreme Court against Mayor Alfredo Lim, Vice Mayor Isko Moreno and majority councilors for a Manila ordinance allowing “highly pollutive and extremely hazardous” industries, including the oil depot to permanently stay in Pandacan.

The pro-oil depot ordinance which these local officials passed makes Manila the toxic capital of the country that will kill Manilans. Not only do I find this local legislation illogical and irresponsible, I believe it is illegal.

In a 51-page petition submitted to the Supreme Court on World Environment day, I questioned the validity and legality of Manila Ordinance 8187 (formerly draft ordinance 7177) for it certainly defies the Constitution which guarantees “each and every Filipino the right to a clean and healthy environment at all times.”

Especially now that climate change has become a global issue drawing more human awareness and concern, nowhere in the world can an ill-crafted piece of legislation, welcoming blatantly defined highly “pollutive and extremely hazardous industries” in a city be accepted.

It would be recalled that despite a final Supreme Court decision mandating the relocation of the oil depot and the strong opposition of the church led by no less than Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales, Manila majority councilors, headed by Vice Mayor Isko Moreno, still “railroaded” draft ordinance 7177, disregarding the obvious grave threat it poses on human lives and the environment.

Then, Mayor Alfredo Lim eventually signed the local measure, thus making it city ordinance 8187, contrary to what he publicly announced earlier to veto the draft legislation once it reaches his table.

City ordinance 8187 amended Manila ordinance 8027 passed during my term as Mayor of the capital city which ordered the transfer of the oil depot from Pandacan. Ordinance 8027 was upheld and supported by the Supreme Court, saying “the right to life enjoys precedence over the right to property.” The reason is obvious: life is irreplaceable, property is not.

Other petitioners included Manila 6th district Rep. Benny Abante, Councilors Bonjay Isip-Garcia, Joy Dawis-Asuncion and Che Borromeo.

The majority councilors charged were Arlene Koa, Moises Lim, Jesus Fajardo, Louisito Chua, Victoriano Melendez, John Marvin Nieto, Rolando Valeriano, Raymundo Yupangco, Edward Maceda, Roderick Valbuena, Josefina Siscar, Salvador Phillip Lacuna, Luciano Veloso, Ernesto Rivera, Danilo Victor Lacuna Jr., Ernsto Isip, Honey Lacuna-Pangan, Ernesto Dionisio Jr. and Erick Ian Nieva.


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