(Photo Credits: www.google.com/illegal-butane-reffilling)

Baybay City Fire Station speaks of illegal refilling of LPG into butane canisters

Possible explosions are highly likely to occur, which could lead to possible loss of lives and damage to properties, following fire accidents due to the use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) refilled in butane canisters.

In an interview with Fire Safety Inspector SFO2 Paul Morata, of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in Baybay City, he emphasized safety concerns over cheap costs of refilling butane canisters with LPG. SFO2 Morata said this amidst the alleged proliferation of illegal refilling of LPG in butane canisters in Cebu that has been transported to Baybay City for trading.

“Refilling butane canisters only costs Php8.50 to Php12.00 compared to buying the LPG priced at over Php200 for 2.5 kilograms and Php600 for 11 kilograms but the cheap price comes at a cost,” added Morata.

On the other hand, SFO3 Helcon Dela Torre, the Chief of the Administrative Section of the Baybay City Fire Station revealed that LPG-refilled butane canisters had proliferated in Mindanao and Cebu and is now starting to grow in Negros Oriental and Leyte.

“The Department of Energy in the Visayas (DOE-Visayas) has noted three (3) related explosions in Cebu, due to the use of LPG-refilled butane canisters, although no fatality has been recorded,” dela Torre said.

“We are strengthening the monitoring of the backyard refilling of LPG in butane canisters, but we can only do much due to our very limited manpower,” added Morata.

P/SUPT. RAMIL AMODIA, Chief of Police of the Baybay City Police Station, however, said that pursuing the people behind the backyard refilling of LPG into butane canisters can be difficult because this is usually done inside their residences, which make it riskier on the part of their family members.

Thus, to be effective in the campaign against the backyard refilling of LPG into butane canisters SFO3 dela Torre said that the community plays a very important role, especially that they too are placed in a risky condition.

 “Section 3 of Presidential Decree 1865 states that it is illegal to trade, sell, distribute or haul LPG-refilled butane canisters without permit from the Department of Enery and those found guilty will face two (2) to five (5) years of imprisonment or a fine of Php20,000 to Php50,000 or both, in the discretion of the court. But in case of second and subsequent conviction under this act, the penalty shall be both fine and imprisonment,” added dela Torre.

Dela Torre explained that the Local Government Units’ support is very critical to put a stop to the illegal refilling of LPG in butane canisters and in selling the same.

It could be recalled that SFO3 dela Torre expressed his concern about this problem during the first City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) Meeting and said that an ordinance, once in place, will facilitate the implementation of this act.

Dela Torre ended the interview by saying that, “What is cheap can be very lethal and costly in the end.”  (Jason Ybanez, CIO Staff and Marissa M. Cano, CIO III)

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