To avoid ‘sabotage’: Pilar wants gasoline ban lifted
Lorraine Mitzi A. Ambrad (The Freeman) - January 18, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The municipal government of Pilar, Camotes Island is asking the Department of Energy (DOE) to issue a temporary moratorium on the apprehension of gasoline retailers.

 

The letter-request was sent to the department the other week.

“We are doing this to avoid economic sabotage,” said Mayor Efrascio Maratas Jr.

The mayor said the ban is affecting the livelihood of the residents.

He said fuel is an important commodity especially for those who drive habalhabals (motorcycle-for-hire) and motorbancas.

Habalhabal and motorbancas are the island’s main transport systems.

Residents, including habalhabal drivers and pumpboat operators, are complaining about the banning of retailed fuel products like gasoline.

Maratas said the island has no existing fuel company, adding that the closest gasoline station is two hours away via boat or ferry in Ormoc City, Leyte.

“It’s impractical for a resident to travel to Ormor City to just buy gasoline,” he said.

Pilar has a population of around 14,000.

Municipal Councilor Rommel Tajo, chairman of the council committee on agriculture and fisheries, earlier said the ban has already affected the local economy, particularly the fisherfolk.

He said the fish catch has dropped significantly because some fishermen are unable to get gasoline from their local retailers.

Governor Hilario Davide III earlier urged DOE to help Camotes and other far-flung areas in Cebu in getting their fuel supplies.

DOE-7 Regional Director Mark Gamallo said a potential investor is planning to put up a gasoline station on the island in the second quarter of the year.

He assured Maratas that the energy department will assist in the processing of documents to hasten the proposed project.

Gamallo said the sale of retailed gasoline is prohibited.

“It’s difficult to tolerate an illegal act as it might create precedence,” he said.

Citing Presidential Decree 1865, the regional director said the law prohibits the selling of retailed petroleum products.

Safety handling of the volatile products is the primary concern why it is prohibited.

Gamallo said storing the gasoline in a one-liter bottle and exposing it to sunlight affect the quality of the product. It may also cripple those legitimate fuel suppliers and retailers.

He urged the police to strictly implement the law. — KBQ (FREEMAN)

GASOLINE
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