By: Roi Lomotan
DUMAGUETE CITY (PIA) — Local government units (LGUs) in Negros Oriental were urged to initiate measures to stop the illegal and unsafe practices by some oil retailers.
During a multi-sectoral forum here, Department of Energy (DOE) officials appealed to LGUs to pass local ordinances that will support DOE’s rules governing the Liquefied Petroleum Product (LPP) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).
This after DOE found several violations committed by oil retailers on the basic requirements of selling petroleum products.
DOE found gasoline stations in inadequate places as some do not have big spaces for vehicles to move around.
Some stations were also found to be near houses, which is prohibited since it exposes people to health risks.
Gasoline tanks of some gasoline stations were also found to be located above ground, another prohibited practice as it exposes gasoline to things that might trigger fire.
“Our appeal to our (LGU) partners here in Dumaguete as well as to other municipalities is for you to help us stop these unsafe practices,” said Loralei Capistrano of the DOE Retail Market Monitoring and Special Concerns Division.
Capistrano was one of the speakers at the DOE Multi-Sectoral Advocacy Campaign on Downstream Oil Industry held yesterday at Bethel Guest House, Dumaguete City.
Capistrano said DOE also forbids the sale of “bote-bote” gasoline or liquefied petroleum product (LPP) sold inside soft drink bottles.
DOE prohibits “bote-bote” gasoline since sellers do not have safety guidelines in selling their products and it exposes people to health risks posed by liquid petroleum.
LGUs can help put teeth to the law by closing erring establishments per the recommendation of the department.
Capistrano noted that as stakeholders, LGUs are also responsible in ensuring community and consumer safety in the petroleum retailing industry.
DOE can help LGUs in crafting their policies on LPP and LPG retail.
The department can also train LGU officials, particularly the business licensing officer, in the calibrating and sealing process of gasoline pumps, she stressed.
Meanwhile, Engr. Jose Rey Maleza, Supervising Science Research Specialist of DOE Visayas, disclosed that the LPG industry situation of the country is marred by unfair and unsafe practices like illegal refilling, uncertified and illegally manufactured cylinders, cylinder tampering, use of scrapped and dilapidated cylinders, a
nd under-filled cylinders.
Maleza called on consumers to be vigilant and inspect the LPG tanks before purchasing.
He advised consumers to check on the seals and the condition of the cylinders.
He said LPG tanks should have no defective seals, dents, rusts, improper painting, corroded footring, and bottom cap to ensure safety and quality in the product.
Maleza also urged LGUs to require LPG retailers to have weighing scales before being issued business permits to make sure that the product is not under filled to protect consumer interest.
“Our appeal to our LGUs is to be very strict in issuing business permit. May the weighing scale be one of the requirements before you issue business permit. The weighing scale is not only for the consumer but also for the retail outlet. Before you display the product, weigh it first to be free from penalty,” Maleza said.
Maleza and Capistrano hope that through the advocacy campaign, DOE can draw more support from the LGUs to forge a strengthened partnership in stopping illegal LPG and LPP practices and in promoting the department’s programs on LPP and LPP safety. (rmn/RAL/PIA7-NEGOR)