DOE to file cases vs. sellers of LPG-refilled butane canisters

Sellers and buyers of illegally refilled butane canisters may soon be facing criminal charge, an official of the regional Department of Energy said.

“As per our information, more than 30 criminal cases have been filed in Visayas. Here, in Davao region sooner and later, we will do the same,” said Engr. Nilo Geroche, DOE’s chief supervising research division in Davao region.

In Cebu, Geroche said the Philippine National Police and its investigating arm, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), have filed criminal cases to sellers and buyers of illegal refilled butane canisters.

Here in the city, Geroche said that for this month alone they already seized 2,164 canisters in a joint operation with the Business Bureau.

Per DOE record, 15,806 canisters were confiscated through the joint operation since March in the public markets of Panacan, Agdao, Bucana, Boulevard, Roxas, and Bankerohan.

“We are still looking for a storage area intended solely for the confiscated items,” said Garoche.

“We are now on the process of the disposal. So, we really need a discussion to talk on the process on how to dispose this. So far, none has won the bidding for the decanting machine yet,” he added.

The DOE is partnering with the city government and other agencies to intensify its campaign against illegally refilled butane canisters as those pose threat to the consuming public.

Last year, Mayor Sara Duterte issued Executive Order No. 29, creating a task force on the matter.

She also encouraged the public not to patronize the illegally refilled canisters.

However, Geroche said, “the consuming public is still very persistent in patronizing this one.”

The campaign against LPG refilled canister is constantly emphasized on the notes that it is unsafe, illegal, and affordable but not economical.

DOE underscored that butane canisters are not designed for multiple uses as the canister valves do not have pressure relief valve which automatically open to release gas during increase of pressure.

Geroche also emphasized that although butane may appear affordable, there is no means to ensure the amount refilled by the retailers unlike the LPG which has a displayed net weight on its tank.