DOE intensifies drive vs. butane refillers
Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (The Freeman) - June 16, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  The Department of Energy (DOE), through its Oil Industry Management Bureau (OIMB) and the Visayas Field Office (VFO) officials, met with Liquefied Petroleum Gas suppliers operating in the region in a move to further strengthen the campaign against the proliferation of illegal LPG-refilling activities, particularly LPG-refilled butane canisters.

DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi, in a statement released by DOE-7, said that butane canisters that have been refilled with LPG are prohibited primarily because they are extremely dangerous as these are fire and explosive hazards.

Cusi has appealed to the public, especially in the Visayas, where this illegal activity has been rampant – not to risk their lives and that of their loved ones by not buying these illegally refilled LPG canisters.

DOE–OIMB Assistant Director Rodela I. Romero and VFO Director Jose Rey Maleza presided over the meeting where LPG suppliers were informed on the continuing joint enforcement activities the DOE has undertaken with the Philippine National Police and the various local government units concerned.

This includes the filing of criminal and administrative cases against those who have been found engaging in the unlawful refilling of LPG into non-compliant containers, as well as the LGUs' provision of warehouse space for confiscated illegal items, among others.

Data from the DOE-VFO indicate that, since 2017, there have been 72 criminal cases filed by law enforcement agencies against illegal LPG refillers, found mostly in the provinces of Cebu and Bohol.

Of the 72, about 42 cases resulted in convictions imposing penalties of either imprisonment, fines, or both.

LPG suppliers and marketers were directed to closely monitor their respective downlines as a measure to block supply sources of illegal refilling, strictly comply with the monthly reporting of LPG distribution, and to transact only with industry players bearing DOE-issued Standard Compliance Certificates.

The DOE continues to assure the public that it is closely coordinating with the PNP in the Visayas and Mindanao regions to find ways to protect the consumers from this illegal and dangerous practice. — GAN (FREEMAN)

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