Group defends butane trade, belies 'hazard' claims
Liv G. Campo (The Freeman) - December 9, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines – An official of a group of butane refillers in Cebu yesterday defended the nature of their business, saying there is no hazard in the canisters they use.

Douglas Quijano, president of Budget LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) Association, said they have been seeking permit from the Department of Energy so they can operate freely and the agency can regulate them, especially the backyard outlets.

"Mangayo mi og permit, dili sila kay wa may balaud ana," said Quijano.

Quijano, who owns an LPG refilling station in Barangay Paknaan, Mandaue City, said he was, however, able to get a permit for his business in the said city.

He said while they can freely operate, there is still fear among them that DOE would raid their areas anytime, like what was expected yesterday afternoon. Reportedly, the sale refilling of canisters was stopped after DOE-7 director Antonio Labios the other day warned them that he would raid their factories.

"Luoy ang pobre kay way mapalit nga kahoy, di kalung-ag. Di man sad sila kapalit og dagko nga LPG kay mahal man," he said.

Labios, who met the refillers last Monday, reportedly told them that since there is no law on the sale of butane and LPG canisters, the raids would be made according to a Mandaue City ordinance which bans these products.

However, as of 4 p.m. yesterday, there was no report of a raid conducted by DOE.

Quijano said his factory sells out at least 20,000 of canisters in the different parts of Cebu City everyday.

He said most households, especially the impoverished ones, will choose this as it is cheap, at P11 to P13 per canister compared to the 11-kilogram tank which is P600 plus. Each canister can last to two to three days, he said.

As to the purported hazard of the LPG in canisters, Quijano said it is even safer than the tanks since the latter use hose, which is vulnerable to leaks thereby causing fire.

The canisters, he explained, are safe as the gas comes directly from the pin. If there are cases of explosions, he said these can be faulted to the substandard stoves, which need regular upgrade for its easily combustible parts.

He said there is no report of butane-related fire in the city, only unattended candles and electrical wiring, which means there is no problem with their business.

He also said if DOE regulates their operations, it can look into the canisters the refillers are using, as there are those that are disposable while others can be reused for a number of  times.

He showed to The FREEMAN a stainless steel can which is reportedly for LPG and can be refilled, while another canister, a metal one, can also be refilled, but only for a limited number of times.

Quijano said the butane/LPG refilling business has been in operation for three years, and yet DOE has not made any policy or law on it.

Budget LPG Association has over 70 members in the province, according to Quijano. (FREEMAN)

ANTONIO LABIOS BARANGAY PAKNAAN CANISTERS CEBU CEBU CITY DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY DOUGLAS QUIJANO LIQUEFIED PETROLEUM GAS LPG MANDAUE CITY QUIJANO
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