Authorities seized several LPG tanks and butane canisters from an illegal refilling station touted as the biggest in the Visayas during a raid in Barangay Kalunasan, Cebu City yesterday.
Rowena D. Capistrano
Butane canisters worth P7 million seized in ‘biggest plant’ raid
Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon, Iris Hazel M. Mascardo (The Freeman) - January 9, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Ten persons were arrested and an estimated P7 million worth of illegally refilled butane canisters and six vehicles were confiscated by the authorities as they raided what was touted as the biggest backyard refilling plant in Central Visayas in Sitio Dapdap, Barangay Kalunasan, Cebu City yesterday afternoon.

The confiscated items included 12,000 butane canisters filled with liquefied petroleum gas, 11,000 empty butane canisters, 11 air compressors, and six vehicles, said Rusmark Gamallo, legal officer at the Department of Energy Visayas Field Office.

“The value of the vehicles excluded, more or less P7 million ang worth sa na-confiscate nga mga butane, as well as 200 LPG at 50 kilograms each,” said Gamallo.

The raided facility consisted of three refilling plants that could reportedly refill at least 11,000 butane canisters per day.

Because these plants generated most of the supplies in the black market, the demand for LPG-refilled butane canisters is expected to drop anytime soon, said Gamallo.

Major Ronald Allan Tolosa, assistant chief of Crime Investigation and Detection Group-7, said 10 people were arrested, including the alleged operators Slyves Janelle Justice Monares and Jamaica Fe Carbo.

Tolosa said also among those arrested were a driver and those who worked to refill the butane canisters with LPG.

Gamallo said that a concerned citizen reported to them about the presence of the refilling plants in their area.

DOE then informed the CIDG-7 about the tip, and the latter immediately conducted surveillance on their operation, which turned out to be positive. Hence, the raid was hatched.

Tolosa said that the reported operators failed to present documents from DOE in violation to Presidential Decree No. 1865 amending Batas Pambasa Bilang 33 or “An Act Defining and Penalizing Certain Prohibited Acts Inimical to the Public Interests and National Security Involving Petroleum and or Petroleum Products”.

Aside from the law that prohibits the use of refilling, trading and distribution of unauthorized butane and LPG canisters, Tolosa said they also conducted the operation for safety purposes since some of these canisters were overused and could possibly cause fire.

Tolosa said that they continue to monitor other illegal refilling operations, especially since there some explosions reported have been caused by the use of butane canisters.

He also encouraged the public to feed them information on any operations of illegal refilling of butane canisters so they can conduct an immediate operation against the same.

For his part, Gamallo urged the public to stop patronizing butane canisters filled with LPG, especially those canisters not authorized by the agency.

“My call to the people who are doing such illegal activities is to stop it, as we will continue to find ways to arrest them,” Gamallo added.  JMD (FREEMAN)

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