Group cites savings in opposing proposed butane ban
A LEADER of a homeowners group asked Cebu City councilors not to approve the proposed ordinance banning the use of refilled butane canisters during yesterday’s public hearing on the proposed measure.
Alejandro Cabelino of Barangay Punta Princesa and the president of the Punta Princesa Manggahan Homeowners Association said he and his group opposed the proposed ordinance citing savings as the reason for their stand despite the safety issues posed by the refilled canisters.
“Dako kaayo na nga savings para namo nga mga pobre. Sa among 175 families sa barangay, mga 90 to 95 percent namo ang naggamit og butane canisters,” he told the Cebu City Council during yesterday’s public hearing.
Cabelino said that at P12.50 per canister, he could use as much as 21 canisters of the refilled butane canisters in one month, which would mean that he would only spend P262.50 for them.
He compared this with an 11-kilo LPG tank, where he would spend more or less a thousand pesos and this could last for a month to 40 days.
Cabelino expressed his opposition to the proposed ordinance sponsored by by Councilor Dave Tumulak to prohibit the manufacture, sale and distribution of LPG-refilled butane canisters within Cebu City.
“Hangyo nako sa mga konsehal. Wa ko ingon nga namulitika. Nanghangyo man ta sa mga pobre before sa election. Karon, tabangi ming mga pobre kay mga kabus ang majority sa mga voters. Parehas ra gud na sa shampoo nga sauna binotelya, karon naa nay sachet (I’m appealing to the councilors. I’m not politicking. You pleaded to the poor people before the elections. Now, please help us poor people because majority of the voters are poor. Using refilled butane canisters is just like shampoo which used to be sold only in bottles, but now there are sachets),” Cabelino said in his speech to support his stand.
Cabelino even cited a 2009 fire caused by an 11-kilo LPG tank, which exploded and started the fire in Sitio Manga, destroying 20 houses.
He said that butane refilled canisters were only around 200 grams and even if it would explode, it would not be as hazardous and strong in starting fires.
Legal Officer Mark Russ Gamallo of the Department of Energy, who was the agency’s representative during the hearing, said that there are several laws and department orders prohibiting the use of refilled butane canisters.
Gamallo said that under DOE Circular NO. 2014-01-0001, refilling thin, single-trip butane canisters with LPG is prohibited because of the risk of explosion.
The circular also imposes a fine of P60,000 for violators who may also face criminal charges.
He also cited that aside from the DOE circular, there is also a Batas Pambansa (BP) Blg. 33, amended by Presidential Decree No. 1865, which prohibits the refilling of LPG in cylinders that are not appropriate for LPG, like butane canisters.
This law penalizes violators with fines as well as imprisonment of between two to five years or both.
Cebu City Fire Marshall Rogelio Bongabong Jr., in a position paper submitted by the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), said they were in favor of the proposed ordinance.
“It would certainly safeguard the public against the hazard brought about by the use of substandard LPG-refilled butane canisters as well as providing precautionary and regulatory measures in its manufacture, sales, storage and handling,” he said in his letter.
The Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) also submitted its position paper supporting the ordinance.
CCTO Head Rafael Yap said imposing penalties against illegally refilled butane canisters would be good to prevent more violators.
The ordinance appoints the CCTO as one of the implementing offices of the ordinance.
Tumulak refiled the proposed ordinance banning the use of refilled-butane canisters after a series of fires linked to refilled butane canisters hit Metro Cebu.
Tumulak, who heads the committee on public order and safety, cited that since 2010, at least 44-butane related fires have been recorded in Cebu City, with half of the incidents happening within 2015 alone when the use of LPG-refilled butane became highly popular for its affordability.
Under the proposed ordinance, any person or entity who manufactures, sells, or distributes refilled butane canisters will be charged with fines ranging from P3,000 to P10,000 as well as the impounding of vehicles used in its transport.
On third offense, business permits of violators will also be revoked by the city government.
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