MANILA--The Senate committee on the environment has recommended damages for residents of a Makati village affected by an oil pipeline leak that has exposed residents to noxious fumes.

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, committee chairman, said pipeline operator First Philippine Industrial Corp. must be held responsible for the leak that started in June 2010 and has forced residents of a condominium to evacuate after gasoline seeped into the building's basement.

He said the committee is in no position to decide how much FPIC has to pay residents, "but they may seek damages."

According to a statement released by residents of Barangay Bangkal in Makati, cases of respiratory and skin ailments have risen since the leak.

They also warned that prolonged exposure to the fumes could cause cancer and increases the risk of having a miscarriage.

"A large portion of the residents are in direct risk for exposure to fuel fumes 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

On top of the risk of illness, "fire and explosion is an ever-present danger."

FPIC will also have to pay for cleaning up the area affected by the leak, Zubiri said. (Jonathan de Santos/Sunnex)