Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi on Friday warned the public on the emergence of illegally LPG-refilled butane canisters that circulate in provincial markets following the buy-bust operation conducted by the Philippine National Police (PNP)-Cebu City Police Office Station 1 in Barangay T. Padilla public market last 24 August.
Cusi also reiterated the DOE’s mandate to ensure the safety of the people by monitoring the quality and quantity of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) being sold in the market.
The Energy Secretary said the buy-bust operations are part of the continuing efforts of the DOE and PNP to eliminate the proliferation of LPG-refilled butane canisters in the province. He urged consumers to refrain from patronizing said products.
“LPG-refilled butane canisters are extremely dangerous, especially since butane canisters should only be used once. Refilling these tin canisters with LPG could cause fire and also greatly endangers the lives of our consumers,” Sec. Cusi said in a statement.
Sec. Cusi also noted that a number of fire incidents caused by leaking canisters refilled with LPG have already been reported.
The Energy Chief commended the efforts of the DOE-Visayas Field Office (VFO), the province of Cebu, particularly the cities of Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue, as well as the local police for enforcing the laws that protect the public against illegal practices in the LPG industry.
Three individuals were arrested in Parian, Cebu for trading LPG-refilled butane canisters. They were identified as Ramir Amaca, Romeo Apparece and Romeo Cuevas, according to the report by the DOE-VFO.
The three were arrested for violating Batas Pambansa 33, as amended by Presidential Decree 1865 after being caught selling and possessing 638 illegally refilled and empty canisters.
DOE-VFO records also show that in Cebu province alone, more than 30 individuals have already been arrested after being caught trading LPG-refilled butane canisters.
The proliferation of this illegal practice is becoming even more pronounced given that 63,055 LPG-refilled and 150,821 empty butane canisters were confiscated in Cebu from early 2017 until August 2018.
The DOE is also urging local government units and their officials to stop such illegal activities in their jurisdictions and to support the #ESafety campaign of the agency to protect the people.
The DOE further encouraged PNP members in all localities to intensify their law-enforcement campaign against illegal traders of energy products.
The Energy Department assures the public they will continue to monitor illegal activities in the energy industry that pose a threat to the lives of the people. It will likewise provide technical assistance to the police authorities on the apprehension of individuals involved in illegal practices.