ILIGAN CITY- In observance of the Fire Protection Month, the Local Price Coordinating Council (LPCC) spearheaded by the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) conducted an inspection on March 17, 2017 in areas within Iligan City where there were reported rampant selling of liquid fuels like gasoline and diesel in “bote-bote” as well as LPG-refilled butane canisters.
With the assistance of the City Mayor’s Office-Permits and License Division and other members of the LPCC (CHO, NFA, EEDMO, & DTI), the two teams were able to inspect 55 stores, 15 were engaged in the selling of “bote-bote” liquid fuels in the barangays of Suarez, Ditucalan, Ma. Cristina, Sta. Filomena, Kiwalan, and Dalipuga. While 40 stores were found out selling LPG-refilled butane canisters mostly in Pala-o market.
Out of the 55 stores, 22 of these stores were issued warning letters by BFP, 12 for bote-bote and 10 for LPG-refilled canisters. Other stores were verbally warned for they belong to the “allegedly selling” category. However, the 55 stores will be included in the list for submission to the Department of Energy (DOE) for their follow-up and appropriate actions.
Per DOE Department Circular No.DC2003-11-010, known as Liquid Petroleum Products (LPP) Retail Laws, “peddling of liquid fuels in any containers, such as soda bottles, plastic bottles, jugs and other similar portable containers are strictly prohibited”. Moreover improper handling of liquid fuels may lead to accidental fire, illnesses due to inhalation of hazardous fumes, and undesirable effects to the environment.
On the other hand, DOE Department Circular No. DC2014-01-0001 outlines the rules and regulations governing the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Industry which stated that illegal or “backyard refilling” of butane canisters is strictly prohibited. It emphasized that butane canisters are used only in a “one time” basis and must never be refilled with LPG which has a higher pressure than butane and may cause accidents such as explosion or fire while in use. Per Philippine National Standards for gas containers, only “welded steel cylinders” are designed for storage, transport and distribution of LPG for domestic consumption.
While under the Fire Code, Republic Act 9514, highly combustible and flammable products, such as liquid fuels, lpg, etc., require proper storage and handling. In view of the above findings, the BFP warns the consuming public to stop patronizing or buying liquid fuels in “bote-bote” and lpg-refilled butane canisters as household cooking fuel.
Aside from no assurance of “proper fuel quality and right quantity, consumers may actually be shortchanged. Further, the city government is being deprived of revenue from business permits, taxes, pump calibration charges as well as subjecting the residents to fire hazards. Also, according to DOE, the fuel products retailed in “bote-bote” and used in lpg-refilled butane canisters may be sourced from illegal activities, such as smuggling, pilferage, and theft.
The city government through the LPCC encourages the motorists to buy liquid fuels from authorized and formal gas stations only, instead of patronizing illegal liquid fuel peddlers. Also, consumers are advised to refrain from using lpg-refilled butane canisters for household consumption. These peddling schemes are considered illegal sales acts which possibly cause danger to lives and properties.