By Minerva Newman
CEBU CITY – The Department of Energy (DOE) warned the public anew on the proliferation of illegal LPG-refilling activities, particularly LPG-refilled butane canisters.
These are fire and explosive hazards,” DOE secretary Alfonso Cusi said during a recent meeting with LPC suppliers operating in the Visayas.
Cusi, with officials of the Oil Industry Management Bureau (OIMB) and Visayas Field Office (VFO) met with Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) suppliers operating in the region last June11 in a move to further strengthen its campaign against the proliferation of illegal LPG-refilling activities, particularly LPG-refilled butane canisters.
He appealed to the public not to buy these illegally refilled LPG canisters because using them would be risky, especially in the Visayas where refilling of butane canisters with LPG is rampant.
Data from the DOE-VFO indicated that, since 2017, there were 72 criminal cases filed by law enforcement agencies against illegal LPG refillers which were found mostly in Cebu and Bohol. Of the 72, 42 cases resulted in convictions, imposing penalties of either imprisonment, fines, or both, according to VFO Director Jose Rey Maleza.
DOE – OIMB Assistant Director Rodela Romero and VFO Director Jose Rey Maleza briefed the LPG suppliers on the continuing joint enforcement activities of DOE with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the various local government units (LGUs).
Maleza said that this includes among others, 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.
DOE directed the LPG suppliers and marketers 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.