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Win Gatchalian wants illegal refilling of LPGs punished to prevent accidents

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Senator Win Gatchalian wants to fine sellers of illegally-refilled and poor-quality Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) tanks as high as P10 million depending on the gravity of their offense.

He recently filed Senate Bill No. (SBN) 1188 which criminalizes hoarding, underfilling, and illegal refilling of LPG tanks, among others, which sometimes lead to accidents and fire.

In filing the bill, Gatchalian took into consideration the reported LPG-related accidents which resulted in the loss of lives, limbs and properties.

Data from the Department of Energy (DoE) show that in 2011, 53 percent or over 49.1 million Filipinos relied on LPG for their basic needs, such as cooking, water heating, and lighting needs.

“Notwithstanding the noteworthy contribution of LPG in addressing the energy needs of Filipinos and the Philippine economy, the regulation of the industry has failed to keep up,” he said.

“This is evidenced by a series of accidents involving LPG causing loss of life, limb, and property,” said Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy.

SBN 1188 which aims to strengthen and streamline the laws and regulations overseeing the domestic LPG industry.

This will govern the following activities in the LPG value chain: importation, refining, refilling, transportation, conveyance, distribution, marketing of LPG and manufacturing, requalifying, exchanging, and swapping of LPG pressure vessels.

The bill covers all LPG industry players from the bulk suppliers, refillers, brand owners and marketers to the dealers and retailers.

Under SBN 1188, the DoE is tasked to regulate, supervise, and monitor the LPG industry participants.

It requires LPG players to secure a license to operate. The DoE will have the sole authority to issue the license to operate which will be valid for three years.

Violators will be fined from as low as P5,000 to as high as P10 million depending on the offense.

Penalties also include suspension of the license to operate, permanent disqualification from engaging in any activity as an LPG industry participant, impounding of LPG products and even imprisonment, depending on the nature of the violation.

Meanwhile, as the country expects a rise in LPG consumption this holiday season, Gatchalian reminds everyone to be wise in buying LPG cylinders to enjoy a risk-free season.

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