Public warned vs use of refilled butane
Liv G. Campo (The Freeman) - December 26, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines – Mandaue City's fire department has warned the public of the dangers of using butane and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in canisters, saying these can cause fire.

Senior Fire Officer 4 Roy Garcia, chief of operations of Bureau of Fire Protection-Mandaue City, said while there are no butane-related fire cases in Mandaue City yet, they should not wait for one to happen, especially that there are already related cases that happened in Cebu City.

"Disposable man na ang canister, so after gamiton, di na dapat refill-lan. But the problem is, sigehan gihapon og refill then mag-leak, that's a problem na," he said.

Garcia said they could not always monitor the households using the wrong canisters, but they can implement the city ordinance which bans the refilling of butane and LPG canisters.

He admitted that the refilling stations, most of which are backyard businesses, are growing like mushrooms in the city. He said these, too, will be affected when they implement the ordinance.

The Department of Energy had already urged the public to make sure that the portable butane stoves they are using do not use LPG, as these may cause explosion.

More and more people are switching to "budget LPG" as each canister is only between P10 to P13 compared to the 11-kilogram tank which costs roughly P600. The former, nonetheless, is only good for two to three simple cookings.

For his part, Douglas Quijano, president of Budget LPG Association, said the LPG canisters are safer than the tank because the latter uses a hose, exposing it to fire risks.

Also, he said the canisters they use can be refilled as these are stainless steel.

He said if there are groups that the authorities should run after, these should be the backyard operators.

He said the legitimate refilling stations are reportedly using state-of-the art machines and new canisters to ensure that their products are safe.

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 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.

He said while they can freely operate, there is still fear among them that DOE would raid their areas anytime.

"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.

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

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 has been no reported butane-related fire in the city, only unattended candles and electrical wiring, which means there is no problem with their business. (FREEMAN)

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