PEPC calls for eradication of illegal butane canisters
Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - April 24, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Philippine Eco-gas Producers Cooperative (PEPC) is appealing for full support from the Department of Energy (DOE) to speed up the eradication of illegal butane canisters.

PEPC launched its refillable liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders in September last year, but there are only 19 dealers who were able to secure permits, and over 80 business dealership applications are now pending for approval at the DOE, said PEPC chairman Francisco Reyes Jr.

PEPC’s LPG cylinders are welded stainless gas cylinders, designed to provide safer alternative to butane canisters refilled with LPG and are illegally sold in the market.

These 80 applicants are waiting for their Standards Compliance Certificate (SCC) approval from DOE.

Once the DOE will release the SCC permits, these dealers are going to help minimize the availability of illegal LPG-filled butane canisters, explained Reyes.

“What consumers don’t understand is that once a butane canister is consumed it cannot be refilled with LPG,” said Reyes in a press conference.

On the other hand, Mark Garmallo, DOE chief legal-Visayas Field Office (regions 6,7 and 8) urged applicants to complete their pre-requisite requirements to expedite the release of their SCCs.

Garmallo confirmed that there are a lot of consumers in the Visayas alone who are still using the hazardous LPG-filled canisters, which are supposedly meant for one use only.

According to Garmallo, DOE is supporting the PEPC product, but applicants have to comply first with the needed pre-requirements, like business permit, and bureau of fire permit, among others.

The coop sees the marketing of the product as a solution to the ongoing battle against the illegal distribution, refilling and marketing of butane canisters, which are considered hazardous to the community.

According to DOE, old butane canisters are dangerous because the containers cannot hold the pressure of the LPG, which could result to combustion.

Part of PEPC’s marketing and safety campaigns, is to encourage consumers to bring four empty butane canisters in exchange for one gas cylinder. This saves the consumer from paying the P250 rate, added Reyes.

The high price of LPG tank, high cost and supply scarcity of charcoal have led consumers to the illegal use of butane.

An end-user only has to pay P250 for the cylinder and additional P22 for the LPG content. Once consumed, the cylinder can be refilled.

So far, PEPC has partnered with Phoenix Petroleum Philippines as the authorized refiller of the canisters.

“We intend to market the product in the whole country through our dealers as well as connect with cooperatives and gasoline stations to grow our market,” said Reyes.

PEPC’s LPG cylinders have been approved by the DOE, Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The cooperative is also looking at tapping other cooperatives in the country to distribute the product. (FREEMAN)

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