Egay Uy .
MAYOR Oscar S. Moreno signed on July 24, 2019 Executive Order No. 131-2019 which creates a Task Force to enforce regulations pertaining to the prohibition against the refilling and trading of single-use butane canisters. The order took effect immediately upon its issuance.
Mayor Moreno himself chairs the task force with Councilor Romeo Calizo as co-chairperson. District Fire Marshall Alan Cabot sits as vice chairperson. Members include councilors George Goking of the committee on trade and commerce, and Teodulfo Lao of the committee on energy.
The task force is composed of members who come from a cross section of the community such as the National Bureau of Investigation, Human Rights Commission, city police director, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, the city prosecutor, the youth sector, and the DTI provincial office.
Members coming from the city government include city administrator Teddy Sabugaa and representatives of various offices such as the city building official, city treasurer, city legal officer, business permit and licensing division, Clenro and this writer, representing the integrated regulatory task force–RCB, Joint Inspection Team, and the City Price Coordinating Council.
It may be recalled that the BFP has confirmed that at least one recent fire incident in the city was caused by illegally refilled and traded butane canister. We have been advocating against the use of illegally refilled butane canisters, not only because such practice is not allowed by the DOE but also because it is utterly unsafe.
A single-use butane canister that originally contains 170 grams of butane gas is usually refilled by unscrupulous entreprenuers with liquefied petroleum gas which has a higher pressure per square inch compared to that of pure butane gas. LPG is a mixture of 60 percent butane gas and 40 percent propane gas.
In most if not all cases, the supposed 170-gram canister is refilled with LPG at less than 170 grams because of the higher pressure of the latter gas. The joints of single-use butane canisters are not welded hence cannot withstand pressure higher than its originally intended content.
Batas Pambansa Blg. 33, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1865, penalizes the “illegal trading or distribution of petroleum products without license or authority from the” DOE. It includes as illegal the “refilling of liquefied petroleum gas cylinders without authority from the” DOE.
The Executive Order is in response to the aggressive campaign of the DOE, in collaboration with the Department of Trade and Industry, the Bureau of Fire Protection, the Philippine National Police and the CIDG, the Business Permit and Licensing Division of the City Government, and the City Price Coordinating Council.
With this issuance, the Bureau of Fire Protection will have clear basis in apprehending illegal refillers of single-use butane canisters. A day after the issuance of the EO, several raids resulted in the confiscation of some 1,000 empty and refilled butane canisters.