CEBU CITY – The Department of Energy (DOE) here on Tuesday urged holders of permits for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) refilling not to violate the terms and conditions by engaging in illegal refilling activities.
DOE-Visayas director Russ Mark Gamallo said a standard compliance certificate (SCC) issued to individuals or corporations highlighted the strict compliance with safety regulations, including the prohibitions against acts of illegal refilling.
“Let me remind SCC holders not to venture into illegal acts that may compromise their permit or SCC issued by the DOE,” Gamallo told the Philippine News Agency.
Gamallo’s warning came as his office filed charges against a businesswoman whose LPG refilling plant in Barangay Dunggoan in Danao City was raided Sunday by the Danao City Police Office, in coordination with the DOE-Visayas, due to complaints of refilling other brands and decanting.
He said the FMZ LPG Center owned by Sheila Mae Zenith has been authorized by the Energy department to refill their own brand “Botin” with green as color of their canisters.
However, the plant workers were caught refilling canisters of other brands without contract or authority from the brand owners and approval from the DOE, Gamallo said.
“They are not prohibited to refill other brands. But to protect other brands, such acts of refilling other brands need authority from the brand owners. The DOE must also approve such authority,” he added.
The raiding team also found some LPG tanks were used in decanting or turning upside down to refill smaller canisters, said Gamallo, who pointed out that such act is tantamount to illegal refilling.
Gamallo said 12 plant workers were subjected to an inquest proceeding at the Provincial Prosecutors Office on Tuesday.
However, Zenith, who was included in the charges, was not around when the raid was launched by the authorities.
The DOE confiscated over 5,000 tin canisters illegally refilled with LPG.
Gamallo said tin canisters are not supposed to be refilled with LPG as these are for single-use and for butane.
The agency also seized eight refilling machines, hundreds of canisters bearing other brands like Blu Flame, Agila Gas, Regasco, and Jane Gas, and two delivery trucks.
It also seized the storage tank which is fastened by bolts on the ground and other equipment like compressors and generators.
Gamallo said the plant owner and the 12 workers will be charged with violation of Section 2 in relation to Sec. 3 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 33 as amended by Presidential Decree 1865 for illegal trading of petroleum products and illegal refilling.
Under the law, violators would be a fine of not less than PHP30,000 but not over PHP50,000 or imprisonment of not more than two years, but not more than five years for the first offense, at the court’s discretion.
Same penalties will apply for the second offense but imprisonment will become mandatory. (PNA)