AFTER 18 years and seven Congresses, the bill seeking to regulate the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) industry to ensure consumer welfare against illegally refilled and poor quality cylinders will finally be enacted into law.
The bicameral conference committee on Tuesday, July 13, approved the proposed LPG Industry Regulation Act, which will set the best conduct and practices for all domestic industry players and institutionalize the cylinder exchange and swapping program to allow consumers to purchase any LPG cylinder brand of their choice.
“With one unified LPG bill that will ultimately govern the entire LPG industry, we can now fill in the regulatory gaps that are being experienced by our industry players and strengthen the various regulations issued by the government. Most important of all, it will provide safety standards for the protection of the consumers by eliminating unsafe cylinders from circulation,” the Senate Energy Committee Chairperson said.
Deliberations on the final form of the bill went smoothly as the Senate opted to adopt the House of Representatives’ proposed provisions on penalties and the latter agreeing to the covered prohibited acts laid down by the upper chamber.
The reconciled version of the Senate Bill No. 1955, in which Gatchalian is the principal author, and House Bill No. 9323 likewise sets the standards for and responsibilities of LPG industry participants – importers, bulk suppliers, bulk distributors, haulers, refillers, trademark owners, marketers, dealers, and retail outlets – in complying with the stringent safety protocols.
Widely used for a variety of purposes such as heating, lighting, cooking on a daily basis for four in 10 Filipino households and even fuel for motor vehicles, Gatchalian underscored the need for a comprehensive regulatory framework to govern the industry.
“Considering the importance of LPG as a household energy source and keeping in mind its hazardous quality if left improperly regulated, it is certainly high time for this bill to finally become a law,” Gatchalian said.
“Matutuldukan na rin ang mga maling gawain ng ilang negosyante tulad ng pandaraya sa timbang at importasyon ng mga second-hand cylinders o containers kapag tuluyan na itong naisabatas,” he added.