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Cebu News

BFP to LGUs: Close stores that refill butane canisters

Kristine B. Quintas/RHM - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The Bureau of Fire Protection-7 has called on local government unit officials to initiate the stoppage and closure of all business establishments and small stores involved in refilling butane canisters with liquefied petroleum gas.

BFP-7 Director Esmael Codilla said “illegal” refilling activities must be stopped as these refilling stations are operating without business permits and without proper regulation by the Department of Energy.

“Let us stop the proliferation of LPG-filled butane canisters in the markets and small stores,” he said.

Chief Inspector Ronaldo Orbeta, provincial fire marshal, also shared Codilla’s statement. He said everyone must be an advocate of fire safety.

“Neither we (BFP) can stop nor control the production of LGP-filled butane canisters. Anybody can buy it, posing threat to everyone,” Orbeta said urging the public to help.

Eyeing to aid the current problem, Codilla said the BFP headquarters in Manila is currently working on the amendment of the Fire Code of the Philippines so it would include the possible parameters on canisters and pyrotechnics, among others.

Nowhere in Republic Act 9514, (An Act Establishing a Comprehensive Fire Code of the Philippines repealing Presidential Decree No. 1185) does not mention about canister.

Last year, the agency recorded at least seven fire incidents that resulted from the misuse of canisters. Three of the incidents happened in Cebu City, and two each in Lapu-Lapu and in Mandaue City.

Codilla stressed that the use of canisters with refilled LGP is “very hazardous” but people continue to use them for cooking because it is sold at only P13, which is very cheap compared to a brand new butane canister that costs P60 to P80 in the supermarkets.

He said butane canisters are not intended for indoor use since its main purpose is for camping and other similar outdoor activities.

The Department of Energy earlier said butane canisters are used only on a “one-time” basis and must never be refilled with LPG, which may result to accidents such as explosions and fire.

DOE said butane canisters are not intended and designed to be refilled, more so with LPG.

Based on existing Philippine National Standards for gas containers, only “welded steel cylinders” are designed for storage, transport and distribution of LPG for domestic consumption.

A strengthened information campaign on safe storage, handling, transport and use of LPG, and conduct of inspections are areas that DOE are exploring to battle the proliferation of LPG-filled butane canisters in the market. – (FREEMAN)

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