LAOAG CITY, Sept 4 (PIA) — The Department of Energy (DOE) said it will go after traders who are involved in unauthorized and unsafe selling of gasoline and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
DOE Director Zenaida Monsada said the department will start fielding task force members to check on illegal trading practices of LPG and gasoline dealers in the provinces.
“They may have been allowed to do their illegal trade in the past. But we will go after them in the coming days,” she said.
“Bawal ang pagbenta ng bote-bote na gasolina (selling gasoline in softdrink bottles is prohibited). Bottled gasoline is a fire hazard. Once bottles are knocked down, you are courting fire in your establishment,” she added.
Monsada said selling of bottled gasoline remains a practice in towns that do not have gas stations.
“It may be convenient for motorists to buy bottled gasoline than go to a neighboring town which could be miles away but lives and properties are at risk because of this illegal practice,” she said.
Authorized LPG dealers also alerted the DOE of the presence of establishments which are into LPG tank refilling without the required clearance and government permits.
“I have been in the LPG business for three years and I know of an outlet which has been refilling LPG tanks without authority. Until now, that outlet continues to operate,” an LPG shop owner, who attended a DOE-sponsored multi-sectoral advocacy on the oil industry, said.
Monsada assured legitimate dealers that those engaged in illegal trading practices would be dealt with.
“We do not have the sufficient manpower to go after all these illegal traders now but we will deal with them in the coming days,” she said.
Monsada said they would need the support of local government units in checking on illegal LPG and gasoline traders including ensuring compliance by gasoline stations of price roll backs.
Local government officials should help curb the practice of gasoline station owners in delaying the implementation of price roll backs.
DOE is aware of the practice of gas station owners in the provinces in delaying the adoption of price rollbacks but are quick to implement price hikes, she said.
“At the NCR (National Capital Region), even if gas stations are selling an old gas inventory, price roll back is immediately adopted the moment an advisory is issued,” she said.
She said a mechanism must be put in place in the provinces so that station owners would comply.
“Oil companies are sanctioned when they fail to comply with price advisories. Gas dealers should also face sanctions if they fail to observe immediate price roll back,” she said.
The DOE sat down with local government officers and dealers of LPG and liquid petroleum products (LPP) last August 31 for a multi-sectoral advocacy on the downstream oil industry to ensure compliance with Republic Act 8479 or the Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act of 1998.
The forum was meant to remind dealers of their compliance with pricing rules and observance of gasoline stations and LPG establishments of the standards on quality and quantity that the law imposed. (ANL/CCA-PIA 1 Ilocos Norte)