LPG safety bill could have prevented mishaps - lawmaker

By Paolo Romero, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 26 2013 08:31 AM | Updated as of Jan 26 2013 04:31 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The incidents of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tank explosions could have been prevented had Congress passed a long-pending bill seeking to enforce the safe manufacture of LPG tanks, a lawmaker said yesterday.

LPG Marketers’ Association party-list Rep. Arnel Ty made the statement after an LPG tank explosion injured at least 12 people in a three-story house in Sta. Mesa, Manila Wednesday.

House Bill 5052 was approved by the House of Representatives trade and industry committee in August 2011, but has since been pending in the plenary, Ty said.

He said the bill sets measures to ensure that every LPG tank coming out of a refilling plant has gone through painstaking safety tests.

The measure also enables the orderly replacement of all substandard tanks in the open market. It includes a one-time cylinder exchange program for the benefit of consumers owning rundown tanks.

“The unchecked proliferation of unsafe tanks has contributed in a big way to the rise in highly destructive accidental fires in homes as well as commercial settings,” Ty said.

Citing reports from the Bureau of Fire Protection, Ty said LPG tank explosions have emerged as a leading cause of deadly fires, averaging around 10 incidents every month.

Last year, an LPG tank explosion caused a kitchen fire that killed four people, including two children, in Taguig City.

At least 10 people, including four children, were also injured when an LPG tank blew up in a Cebu City junkshop.

In one of the worst LPG disasters in recent years, a truck packed with tanks crashed into a roadside eatery in Carmona, Cavite, setting off blasts that killed nine people, including two children, Ty said.

He said a similar accident recurred last year, when another truck overloaded with LPG tanks flipped along the South Luzon Expressway in Parañaque City, causing multiple explosions.