In the News: Gas Leak Pinpointed(?), Residents Evacuated, West Tower Might Explode?

We received a note in the AP shoutbox about a gas leak in Makati. The news makes it appear that the source of the leak has been identified – but the actual statements of the firemen are “could have”. There seems to be a disconnect between the headlines and the facts.  Can the dots be connected? Or there are no dots? There’s no connection?

Let’s look at the timeline.

July 16, 2010 – “Clueless”

Engineers still clueless over source of leak in Makati

By Jose Rodel Clapano

(The Philippine Star) Updated July 16, 2010 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines – The engineers of the privately owned First Philippines Industrial Corp. (FPIC) are still puzzled over the source of leak in Bangkal, Makati City that residents said smelled of gas.

In a telephone interview, engineer Efren Impreso, FPIC oil pipeline right of way division head, said they have already dug 15 segments of their pipeline along Del Pilar street in Makati, but still they failed to find the source of the leak.

Impreso said the leak in this area is composed of a mixture of water and an oily substance suspected to be petroleum. He said there are no findings yet that diesel is leaking from the pipeline.

“What is leaking is all water from the area where the seepage was first reported to have occurred. The 15 segments (measures) about 20 meters. We are actually puzzled by the fact that until now we cannot see the source of it,” he said.

Impreso said they will bore small holes in the area and take samples from these holes to determine where the leak is coming from. He added that the leak poses no danger to residents. 🙄

July 18, 2010 – Source pinpointed.. “could have been caused” but nothing definite – still “clueless”.

Source of Makati gas leak pinpointed

By Aie Balagtas

(The Philippine Star) Updated July 18, 2010 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines- The Makati Fire Department said yesterday it has already identified the source of the reported gas leak along Osmeña Highway.

Fire chief Leo Andiso of the Bangkal, Makati Fire Station told The STAR that the gas could have come from a tank in the basement of the West Tower, a residential condominium on Bangkal street.

Note the operative word – COULD HAVE. The Fire Department did not say – IT WAS DEFINITELY THE TANK. So how can the source of the Makati gas leak be pinpointed when – what we have is a “could have”?

He said odor emanating from the West Tower proved that the leak came from the building and not from pipelines under the structure as previously thought.

However, the reason why there was petroleum inside the tank continues to puzzle fire officials.

”We believe the odor originated from the building’s sump pit located at the building’s Basement 4 but we are still clueless why this happened,” Andiso said.

“It’s either the petroleum is really coming from the building or somebody intentionally put petroleum in the tank,” he added.

A sump pit is a hole designed to collect water and other spilled fluids in order to avoid flooding in the basement.

In a separate interview, Makati Fire Marshal Samuel Tadeo said the smell of gas “has become worse” since Tuesday.

He added that they have already sought the help of the city engineer to solve the problem.

Andiso could not yet determine if the incident would pose a danger to the public as they have yet to assess the gravity of the case.

Meanwhile, engineer Efren Impreso, head of the Oil Pipeline Right of Way Division of the First Philippines Industrial Corp. (FPIC), said they were relieved that their pipelines tested negative for leaks..

Who did the the testing? What testing was used? What are the results of the testing – where is the full report?

”We were quite relieved that our pipelines are not posing any danger to public health,” he told The STAR. The fire department initially suspected that the gas was coming from a FPIC petroleum pipeline located nearby.

A separate statement from the FPIC said the company has dug about 100 meters near West Tower to show that the leak came from the building and not from their pipelines beneath it. FPIC has already sent engineers to assist the city fire department in its investigation.

100 meters near West tower isn’t exactly the same as being under West Tower. Can they show a diagram – a scaled blueprint of where exactly the pipelines are – and where the diggings were made.

July 21, 2010

Makati condo building ordered evacuated due to oil leak

By Niña Calleja

Philippine Daily Inquirer

First Posted 17:44:00 07/21/2010

Filed Under: Evacuation(General), Safety of Citizens

MANILA, Philippines – The authorities ordered the evacuation of a 22-story condominium building in Makati on Wednesday after the fire marshal declared the edifice had become a “ticking bomb” because of a 10-day-old oil leak in its basement.

note that Philstar described the smell as being due to a gas leak – not an oil leak. So between the more recent Inquirer report – and the prior Philstar report – this is what I am trying to understand. Can a gas leak be similar to an oil leak?Rather can the smell of gas emanate from the oil leak. And where exactly can oil be found in the area? The sump tank – right.  🙄   😯

As of Jul 21 It has been three days since July 18 , the day when the “gas leak” was identified. Three days after the “gas leak” becomes an “oil leak”. If it is not a “gas leak” and it is indeed an “oil leak” – WHERE THE EFF IS THE OIL of the 10-DAY OLD “OIL-LEAK” coming from.

There has to be a source. And the public needs to be accurately informed not misinformed – about the where the oil is coming from.

Someone needs to be held accountable. If this is a faulty design – then there could be more sumps in the making that can cause a certain smell. The question is – do these other sumps have petroleum?

The Fire Department should not stop at “could have come from”. FPIC must also disclose the full report – for purposes of transparency and verification.

Who is First Philippine Industrial Corp. (FPIC)

from FPIC Website

First Philippine Industrial Corporation (FPIC) owns and operates the sole, largest commercial oil pipeline in the country, transporting crude and refined petroleum products from Batangas to Metro Manila.  It was established in 1967 primarily to service the fuel requirements of Meralco and the oil refineries in Batangas.

FPIC’s pipeline system consists of two main pipelines, one for the refined petroleum products (the “white” line) and the other for heavier petroleum products (the “black” line).
First Gen Corporation exercises organizational supervision over FPIC, while the company is 60% owned by First Holdings, in partnership with Shell Petroleum Co., Ltd. (UK) which owns 40%.

In 1992, the Energy Regulatory Board renewed FPIC’s concession to operate its pipelines for another 25 years.

FPIC maintains IMS certification for ISO 9001:2000, ISO 14001:2004, and OHSAS 18001:1999; information security management system certification for BS-7799:2002 Part 2 (UK); social accountability management system certification for SA-8000:2001 (UK); and human resource management system certification for Investors in People (UK).

First Philippine Holdings Corporation (First Holdings) is a holding company whose core businesses are in power generation and distribution, with strategic initiatives in manufacturing, property and infrastructure.

Since its inception in 1961, First Holdings has served as the leading private sector holding company in the development of the country’s utilities and infrastructure. Its power generation subsidiary, First Gen Corporation, is now the largest vertically-integrated power generation company in the Philippines with an installed capacity of 2,887 megawatts, accounting for approximately 19% of total installed capacity in the country today. Its power distribution associate, Manila Electric Company, has a franchise area producing 50 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and servicing 60% (about 4.6 million customers) of the electricity nationwide.

First Holdings continues to grow its manufacturing businesses through First Philippine Electric Corporation (First Philec). First Philec’s Electricals Division support electric utilities, while its Electronics Division continues to provide export revenues and much-needed employment to Filipinos, and breaks new ground with the First Philec Solar Corp. (FPSC), a joint venture with SunPower Corp. in the growing solar energy industry.

First Holdings’ property businesses also continue lead and innovate. First Philippine Industrial Park is the leading industrial park in the country while Rockwell Land Corporation is the first in the country to develop a complete, high-end, inner-city community.****

Executive Directors

* Mr. Oscar M. Lopez
* Mr. Elpidio L. Ibañez
* Mr. Federico R. Lopez

Non-Executive Directors

* Mr. Augusto Almeda-Lopez
* Mr. Thelmo Y. Cunanan
* Mr. Eugenio L. Lopez III
* Mr. Manuel M. Lopez
* Mr. Ernesto B. Rufino, Jr.
* Mr. Peter D. Garrucho, Jr.

Independent Directors

* Mr. Cesar B.Bautista
* Mr. Oscar J. Hilado
* Mr. Artemio V. Panganiban
* Mr. Juan B. Santos
* Mr. Washington Z. Sycip

Senior Management

Head office

Oscar M. Lopez
Chairman Emeritus and Group Chief Strategic Officer

Federico R. Lopez
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Manuel M. Lopez
Vice Chairman

Elpidio L. Ibanez
President and Chief Operating Officer

Francis Giles B. Puno
Seinior Vice President/Treasurer and Chief Finance Officer

Perla R. Catahan
Vice President and Comptroller

Ricardo B. Yatco
Vice President

Oscar R. Lopez, Jr.
Vice President

Benjamin R. Lopez
Vice Presideent

Ramon T. Pagdagdagan
Vice President/ Internal Auditor

Elizabeth M. Canlas
Vice President

Enrique I. Quiason
Compliance Officer and Corporate Secretary

Rodolfo R. Waga, Jr.
Vice President/Assistant Corporate Secretary and Assistant Compliance Officer

Power Generation

Federico R. Lopez
Chairman and CEO, FIRST GEN

Francis Giles B. Puno
President and COO, FIRST GEN

Richard B. Tantoco
President and COO, EDC

Ernesto B. Pantangco
Executive Vice President, FIRST GEN

Jonathan Russell
Executive Vice President, FIRST GEN

Anthony M. Mabasa
Senior Vice President, EDC

Victor B. Santos
Vice President, FIRST GEN

Emmanuel P. Singson
Treasurer, FIRST GEN


Leonides U. Garde
President and Chief Operating Officer

Dr. Fiorello R. Estuar
Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Anthony L. Fernandez


Arthur A. de Guia
Managing Director for Manufacturing and Portfolio Investments Group

Danilo C. Lachica
Managing Director for Electronics Division

Ariel C. Ong
Managing Director for Electricals Division


Nestor J. Padilla
Rockwell Land

Hector Y. Dimacali
President and General Manager


Ernesto B. Rufino, Jr.

Who is First Gen Corporation?

First Gen Corporation (First Gen) is the leading clean and renewable energy company in the Philippines with an installed capacity of  3,047.4megawatts (MW). It accounts for approximately 20 percent of total installed capacity in the country today.
First Gen was incorporated in December 1998 to become the primary holding company for the power generation and energy-related businesses of the Lopez Group. First Philippine Holdings Corporation (FPHC), parent and controlling shareholder of First Gen, became involved in the power generation industry in 1993 through its first major investment in power generation, Bauang Private Power Corporation (BPPC).

First Gen’s assets comprise the 1000-MW Santa Rita and 500-MW San Lorenzo natural gas-fired power plants, the 225-MW Bauang medium-speed bunker-fired diesel power plant, the 112-MW Pantabangan-Masiway Hydroelectric Complex, and the 1.6-MW Agusan mini-hydro power plant. In November 2007, First Gen acquired a 60 percent controlling stake in Philippine National Oil Company – Energy Development Corporation (PNOC-EDC), now known as Energy Development Corporation (EDC). In September 2009, First Gen affiliate EDC, through its  indirect wholly owned subsidiary Green Core Geothermal Inc., won the PSALM bidding for the 192.5-MW Palinpinon and 112.5-MW Tongonan geothermal power plants  for US$ 220 million. On October 23, 2009, Green Core formally acquired these two plants. Green Core paid US$ 88 million or 40% of the purchase price, upon turnover of the plants. The remaining US$ 132 million plus interest was paid on December 15, 2009. On May 5, 2010, EDC subsidiary Bac-Man Geothermal Inc. won the PSALM bidding for the 150-MW Bacon-Manito geothermal power plants in Bicol.

Source:, July 21, 2010

Superintendent Samuel Tadeo, Makati fire marshal decribed the West Tower located at Barangay (village) Bangkal as a “ticking bomb which might set off if ignited” and Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Jun-jun” Binay ordered the maanagement to close down the building and evacuate its residents as soon as possible.

On Tuesday afternoon, several city department heads discussed the problem facing not just the West Tower but also other residents nearby that have been complaining about the smell of gasoline reaching their homes.

“The 60 families living there must vacate the building. It’s no longer safe for them,” Tadeo said.

He said that a single spark could trigger a huge explosion similar to what happened in Glorietta 2 three years ago.

“This is our precautionary measure. We want everybody safe,” Tadeo said.

Now would be a good time to have independent foreign investigators come into the site and corraborate the FPIC engineer’s statements about being “clueless”.  😈

It will certainly help speed up their job of identifying their source. 😈

Something’s amiss. What’s the hurry in saying the source of the leak has been pinpointed, that it will not be a problem, then people are evacuated because it’s a ticking bomb?

Obviously, someone needs to be held accountable – di ba P-Noy?  8)

60% Local – 40% Foreign. If the foreigner wants to do business – their best entry point given the circumstances of 60%/40% – under the FINL and 1987 Constitution is to deal with the group that can provide the needed 60%. Even if Shell or a consortium say from Spain/UAE/Japan – can invest 60% with more reliable and lower costing electricity you just can’t.

Petroleum, Electricity, Real Estate – High Electricity.

Remember this?

All the pieces of the puzzle are coming  together eh 💡

Who owns West Tower? Let me guess? Rockwell Land Corporation?

Who is Rockwell?

Rockwell Land Corporation is one of the premier real estate development companies in the Philippines. It was formed 1995, after the shutdown of the thermal power plant, by the Lopez Group. Its primary task was to transform the old thermal plant property into a high-end commercial business district. The company is 51%-owned by the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) and 49% by First Philippine Holdings Corporation (FPHC).

Rockwell Center, the company’s flagship project, sits on a 15.5-hectare site in Makati City. It is strategically located between the three major commercial business districts of Makati City, Bonifacio Global City and Ortigas. The Center has been developed into a self-contained, mixed-use community consisting of seven (one under construction) highrise upscale residential towers, three office buildings, a lifestyle shopping mall, a city club, and a leading business graduate school., accessed, Juky 21, 2010

I get the impression that West Tower is actually owned by Fil Estate.


Fil-Estate land, Inc. (“FELI” or the “Company”) was incorporated in  18 May_ 1994__ to  consolidate_ the_ real estate interests and development activities of the Fil-Estate Group of Companies. FELI is tasked to engage in land acquisitions and to maintain an inventory of raw land for future development by its subsidiaries. __FELI’s common shares were listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) in November 1995.

FELI has two wholly owned subsidiaries: Fil-Estate Properties Inc. (“FEPI”) and Fil-Estate Golf and Development, Inc. (“FEGDI”) both of which are engaged in the _development of _residential_ subdivisions, _townhouses, golf course communities, _condominiums, _office buildings, industrial estates, and _resort communities. _In March 2002, the group established_ Fil-Estate Urban Development Corporation (“FEUDC”) to pursue the development of certain city-based residential and commercial projects.

All of the Company’s properties are promoted and sold through _affiliated marketing companies._ FELI owns a strategic 20% equity interest in of each of five (5) marketing companies, namely Fil-Estate Realty Corporation, Fil-Estate Marketing Associates, Inc., Fil-Estate Network, Inc., Fil-Estate Sales, Inc. and Fil-Estate Realty Sales Associates, Inc.

The Company is one of the leading property development and marketing companies in the Philippines and has operated through predecessor companies since 1981. It is engaged primarily in the horizontal development of residential subdivision lots, integrated residential, golf and other leisure-related properties and vertical development of mixed-use towers in Metro Manila.

FELI has one of the largest land banks among the _Philippine property_ developers. _Currently, _FELI has approximately 1,087 has. of wholly owned and 2,940 has. of joint venture properties in its land bank. The Company reduces its capital exposure substantially by acquiring or controlling its land bank through joint ventures with landowners. These agreements generally provide that the Company will undertake the development and marketing of the project.


  • Established in 1981
  • Founded by Robert John L. Sobrepeña, Ferdinand T. Santos and Noel M. Cariño to market properties
  • Began property development in 1983
  • Formed Fil-Estate Land, Inc., the real-estate holding company, in 1994
  • Fil-Estate Land, Inc. became a public company in 1995
  • Organized Fil-Estate Corporation as the primary holding company for the group

Board of Directors

The overall management and supervision of FELI is undertaken by the Board of Directors. Currently, the Board consists of seven members, where one (1) independent director has been elected. All of the directors were elected at the Company’s stockholders meeting and will hold office until their successors have been duly elected and qualified.

The following are the incumbent Directors of the Company as of 30 June 2007:

Robert John L. Sobrepeña
Board Chairman & CEO

Ferdinand T. Santos

Co-Chairman, President

Noel M. Cariño
Vice Chairman

Enrique A. Sobrepeña

Alice Odchigue-Bondoc

Rafael R. Perez de Tagle, Jr.

Ruben R. Payumo

Independent Director

Senior Management

The Company’s executive officers in addition to its executive directors listed above as of 30 June 2007 are as follows:

Roberto S. Roco
SVP & Chief Finance Officer

Nicholas A. Aquino
SVP for LEGAL – Permit and Government Compliance

Solita Santos-Alcantara
VP for Systems & Internal Audit

Roy V. Movido
VP for Labor & Litigation

Josephine Cecilia B. Ng

VP for Human Resources

Gilbert Raymund T. Reyes
Corporate Secretary

Either it’s coming from the tank or someone is putting oil in the tank? Is this an oil leak? A real estate turf war ?

Just the same – do the math. 60% local – 40% foreign.

Protectionism hits us in our daily lives. It’s all in the news. Condo residents had to be evacuated.

Meanwhile homelessness hits hard. Foreign developers have some really good ideas for low cost, efficient, durable, very livable – housing. But, they can’t get in – not unless the local players go into joint venture with them.

It’s just another day in the Philippine Matrix. :mrgreen:



  1. silvercrest · ·

    Where in the world did they get that idea that a sump tank under a condo can accumulate that much oil? Is it really a condo? What kind of machinery does that building have? To generate that much oil to be of such nuisance must be a very big piece of machinery. Every Filipino sailor will be puzzled to hear this.

    Another alternative to your foreign investigators would be the “Autobots” from the cartoon and now movie franchise, ” Transformers”. Could it be that the West Wing Tower is one of those “Decepticons” in hiding? Oh my…where are the cameras?

    Oh come on, sump tank? Hilarious!

  2. Now this is scary. 😦 Clueless or suppressed engineers? 🙄

  3. ako ang simula ng pagkabobo · ·

    excellent entry for NatGeo’s Seconds from Disaster…

    Kung sumabog yan.

  4. Wow, this is the first time I heard that there’s OIL and it’s right under Makati! Talk about high petroleum prices and trasnport strikes. We could have been an oil rich country ! LOL

    Seriously though the media strikes again at giving out “accurate” information of that gas leak. They’re really good at “un-educating” their audience.

  5. I was reading the Inquirer at lunch today (whilst enjoying Burger King’s new Atrocity Burger), and the water crisis is all over the front page and the first section — not a word about this problem.

  6. Hyden Toro · ·

    This is what happens, when the Oligarchs can have their ways. They can contruct residential buildings, without much ado, to safety to the cusumers, who will buy the buildings Shortcuts can give you a lot of profit. Much more lousy and shoddy contruction works Anyway, with booming Metro Manila population: you can easily sell them; and recover your investments. Who will look for the safety issues? Your friends are in power.

  7. seems like Fil-Estate was sold a bum piece of land. must have got it for a low price. now they know why. 😆

  8. Let’s just wait for that gigantic explosion na lang so we’ll get some developments from the people responsible.

  9. So you would prefer getting caught with your pants down and two inches hanging from between your legs? It COULD kill, you know.

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