Petron warns consumers on dangers of illegally refilled LPG tanks
Safeguard duty on rice, corn sought
Leading oil firm Petron Corporation has warned Filipino consumers on the dangers of patronizing illegally refilled liquefied petroleum gas (LGP) cylinders, as these could cause freak accidents that would then risk lives and properties.
“Petron Gasul cylinders are replicated and sold by unauthorized refillers ad sellers without undergoing the proper safety and quality checks,” the company said.
Petron President and CEO Ramon S. Ang said “there are very serious dangers to illegal refilling which is why it has to stop,” with him expounding that “it puts at risk the lives of consumers because illegally refilled tanks do not undergo proper safety checks nor do they undergo weight inspections, so these are also often underfilled.”
In just a span of three months, Petron reported that two separate raids were carried out by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) in Cavite – and these operations led to the confiscation of millions-worth of illegally refilled LPG products.
The oil firm further narrated that in June “₱4.6 million worth of illegally refilled Petron Gasul tanks were seized in Imus, while another 180 were captured in Bacoor with an estimated value of ₱500,000.”
The company indicated the CIDG also confiscated “several fake and illegally refilled LPG tanks in a recent entrapment operation in Valenzuela City,” that was following a joint complaint filed by Petron and Isla Petroleum and Gas Corporation.
As palay prices continue to go down and the alleged entry of tons of smuggled corn began eating up a portion of the domestic demand, Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food, Inc. (PCAFI) asked the Philippine government to immediately implement safeguard measures for the producers of the country’s two main staple foods.
In a statement, PCAFI President Danilo V. Fausto said he has been seeking an audience from the Department of Agriculture (DA) regarding the plight of farmers.
He said the DA should at least consider implementing a tariff increase on imported farm commodities, mainly rice, so as to support local farmers.
For corn, DA should “at least” prohibit imported corn to coincide with the harvest, he added.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that palay prices fell to as low as ₱12 per kilogram (/kg) in some areas in the country during the third week of September, which means some farmers barely made money during this harvest season.
This, since in order to produce a kilo of rice in the Philippines, Filipino rice farmers have to spend ₱12.72, which is higher compared to the production cost of farmers in Vietnam and Thailand at ₱6.22/kg and ₱8.86/kg, respectively.
Under the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), which allowed unlimited rice importation in the country, in order to protect the Philippine rice industry from sudden or extreme price fluctuations, a special safeguard duty on rice shall be imposed in accordance with Safeguard Measures Act.
This means that when the prices of local palay are low, the government could increase the tariff imposed on imported rice to discourage traders from purchasing more cheaper imported rice.
Meanwhile, for corn, there has been an alleged smuggling issue involving thousands of metric tons of the staple that are scheduled to enter the Philippines, which Philippine Maize Federation, Inc. (PMFI) already raised to the DA.
PMFI President Roger Navarro, who is also a PCAFI member, said corn shipments are expected to arrive in the country soon but Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) Director George Y. Culaste has denied this claim, saying that no permit has been issued for incoming corn importations.
The owner of the apprehended illegal outlet was subsequently arrested and imprisoned, according to the leading oil firm.
The Petron chief executive thus commended the law enforcers for constantly “keeping an eye on illegal LPG outlets,” and for apprehending the unscrupulous individuals behind them.
Be that as it may, the longer term fix to the industry’s dilemma, in Ang’s view, is the passage of the LPG Bill, which is targeted to have more comprehensive measures in “suppressing illegal trade practices in the LPG sector.”
The oil firm said the edict will “strengthen and streamline laws and regulations in the LPG sector.” As propounded, violations like illegal refilling, underfilling, hoarding and operating without a valid license could be meted fines ranging from ₱5,000 to ₱10 million.