By helping Barangay 834 with firefighting training and equipment, Chevron Philippines shows its determination to leave the Pandacan depot compound on very good terms. Chevron—the folks behind the Caltex brand of petroleum products and service stations, and one of the big three oil companies that had long-running operations at Pandacan—was among the first to heed the Manila city ordinance to stop using the sprawling 33-hectare compound. A year and a half before the deadline last November, Chevron had already shifted volumes to other locations back in June 2014. That was just three years short of a century after they had started using Pandacan in 1917. Now, with that much history at their former digs, Chevron apparently intends to leave at least a tradition for safety in place, remaining invested in the welfare of the community that was once their neighbourhood.
Press Statement by Chevron Philippines, Inc., “Pandacan residents train for safe firefighting self-sufficiency thanks to Chevron, BFP,” 2016:
Manila, 9 December 2015–Chevron Philippines Inc. (CPI), marketer of Caltex brand of fuels and lubricants, leaves as legacy a culture of safety to Barangay 834 in Pandacan, Manila by providing a firefighting training program in partnership with the Bureau of Fire Protection and donating various firefighting equipment to its former host community.
Barangay 834 chairperson Remedios Uy used to worry about the residents’ readiness to respond to disasters and emergencies, especially in the event of fire. “Since Chevron Pandacan Terminal was built in the 1920s, our barangay had been dependent on the oil depots in the district to keep us safe from disasters and emergencies. Chevron always prioritized safety and disaster risk management programs. And because of our proximity to the terminal, they are always among the first provided us with firefighting assistance,” noted Uy. She shared that when the dismantling of the oil terminal began, there was an apprehension about their competence to face the unexpected. “When we related this problem to Chevron, we are gratified to know that our corporate neighbors share the same concern. Better yet, they helped us build our capacity to become more effective in disaster response.”
Together with project partners NGO Venture for Fund Raising and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)-Manila, Chevron held a firefighting workshop for Barangay 834 volunteers which included drills in addressing firefighting incidents. In addition, the village was given 15 sets of fire extinguishers including cabinets to be installed in strategic locations within the barangay. The volunteers who completed the training also received Caltex jackets as graduation tokens. Chevron also donated several sets of firefighting equipment to the BFP trainers.
“Even if the depot no longer exists in Pandacan, Chevron continues to make us feel safe. With this project, we now have the necessary equipment to fight fires and the crucial skills to act decisively during emergency situations. We also established a strong connection with BFP-Manila which will facilitate the continuing search for more proactive solutions for disaster preparedness. We are very grateful to Chevron for teaching us to be confident in dealing with emergency situations. This legacy of self-dependence will remain with us for a long time” Uy added.
“With the practical training and the much-needed firefighting equipment and suits provided to both the barangay and the BFP, the community has gained an enhanced capacity to respond to fire incidents,” confirms fire inspector JL Aaron Caro, substation commander of BFP-Pandacan. “BFP-Pandacan thanks Chevron for providing all these, and more importantly, for ensuring that the culture of safety remains here even after the company has left the neighborhood,” he added.