Interview to Vinicio Vega, Mayor of Lago Agrio
As Mayor and as a citizen, what is your perception of the close relationship between the city of Lago Agrio and the oil exploitation activities that are part of the town’s history?
Lago Agrio was born as a result of oil exploitation. Oil production has been taking place for 47 years in this corner of the country. In this regard, the city's growth has gone hand in hand with oil production: when production increased, immigration towards Lago Agrio also increased. That is how this canton started receiving immigrants from all over the country.
We are aware that oil is a natural resource of the State for the benefit of all of us. For the State to continue providing more social benefits, it has to continue extending its oil production. That is why the building of the OCP was franchised. This company provides the oil transportation service, but its activities have also provided social services.
What has been OCP's role in the social development of this canton?
Thanks to alliances between OCP, as a private company, and public institutions, such as the Municipality of Lago Agrio, it was possible to solve problems that affect the city and are the Municipality's responsibility, when the latter’s financial resources were insufficient to do so. Thus, OCP has become a strategic ally for the Municipality.
In my opinion, OCP has fulfilled a role within society and in this canton. And its role has materialized corporate social responsibility, which sometimes is a mere slogan for companies. But we must see who really fulfills it and who does not. I can say that OCP has fulfilled this role and has helped the Sectional Government with the urban equipment that Lago Agrio needed.
Besides its social purpose, as a private company, it has worked on its social responsibility to help large areas of the canton, specifically priority areas.
Which projects have been achieved jointly, thanks to these public-private sector alliances?
The building works had started even before I was in office… some examples are the improvement works built in the School “3 de Diciembre”, the building and improvement works of a Stadium to support the sports and social areas. “… Road building projects and the support of the Municipality to build a senior citizens home are the things that make this city great, and this would not have been possible without OCP’s support.
What is expected from a private company such as OCP?
OCP transports a natural resource of the State so that the country may have economic income. What we expect from OCP is the support needed by the population, continued support for the different institutions located in the areas crossed by the OCP, and that it continues generating welfare for the citizens. This social support should continue to the extent of the company’s economic income, agreements should be set up with the different public institutions.