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Osmeña on Rama’s move: Banning of refilled butane cans ‘politically motivated’

May B. Miasco/NSA (The Freeman) - November 12, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - There’s politics behind Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama’s order to ban LPG-filled butane canisters in the city, his archenemy former mayor Tomas Osmeña said.

“They are trying to close it down. Who are at loss? Me? This is not my business. My only fault is that I am only trying to help the poor by lowering the prices,” said Osmeña in a press conference yesterday held at Cebu La Fortuna Ba-kery fronting Cebu City Hall.

Osmeña also answered reports on butane canisters recovered by the city government with the marking “Type O” – the political brand attributed to Osmeña.

Together with Osmeña were business players of canister refilling stations in Metro Cebu, whom he collaborated with as their business advisor and planner.

Osmeña’s offer was to reduce the price for every refilling service, as part of his livelihood program for the underprivileged.

 “It might not be much for many people but the ones that benefit from this are the poor people that cannot afford. Like the eatery stores, it cost them money to cook. And if you can save them P20 to P40 a day, it’s big for them. What can he offer as an alternative?” Osmeña said, referring to Rama.

He further alleged that Rama has been hampering his other supported programs such as the controversial Farmer’s Market operating at the South Road Properties.

“Just like farmers market, I reduced the price of vegetables. Rama doesn’t like that because he might lose the elections. It’s very simple; he doesn’t care (about the poor). He has only one purpose — to win the elections,” he said.

Rama, however, reiterated his stand that he is banning LGP-refilled butanes in the city for the safety of the residents.

“On the point of view of the city mayor, exercising of police power to protect the city’s security and health, I would never agree that we will be putting especially the poor at any given point in time to physical injuries and then victims of conflagration,” he said in a teleconference from Manila.

He cited an incident in Barangay Kinasang-an where at least eight people suffered from burns after an empty canister exploded.

Osmeña, however, said Rama’s move is actually making the situation worse.

 “If you crack down this (refilling of canisters), you will develop an underground eco-nomy. When you develop an underground economy, then the backyards would excite the squatter areas where you will have fires. You are not improving the safety, you are making it worse,” he said.

With backyard or garage type refillers, a group of refilling stations in Metro Cebu appealed to the Department of Energy to standardize and regulate the butane refilling industry as it offers more advantage to the poor families.

Engr. Eduardo Antiligando, one of the directors of Cebu LPG Budjet Gas Industry Player Association, said their advocacy is to provide safe, affordable and convenient cooking gas as well as support the clean air initiatives of the government.

He warned that if the refilling business will be closed, 1.2 million residents in Metro Cebu might be affected.

Whether LPG-refilled canisters are risky to use or not, a separate entity has yet to prove and test this through scientific approach, he added.  (FREEMAN)

ACIRC ATILDE BARANGAY KINASANG BUDJET GAS INDUSTRY PLAYER ASSOCIATION CEBU CEBU CITY HALL CEBU CITY MAYOR MICHAEL RAMA METRO CEBU OSME PLUSMN RAMA
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