MANILA -- A lawmaker is pushing for safer liquified petroleum gas (LPG) products, following the deaths caused by separate LPG explosions in Tondo and Ilocos Sur.
According to House Deputy Minority Leader and LPG-MA Rep. Arnel Ty, the death of three of the five victims of a massive LPG storage tank explosion in Ilocos Sur should serve as a wake-up call for Congress.
"If we are to avoid the loss of more lives as a result of preventable LPG-related disasters, Congress should now pass new legislation meant to build up compliance with and enforcement of highly improved safety standards," Ty said.
He added that lawmakers should not wait for more LPG blasts before they work on a law stipulating safer standards for LPG use.
Ty was referring to House Bill 756, which mandates comprehensive and rigorous standards meant to ensure the safe storage, refilling, distribution, transportation and consumption of LPG.
"The holdup in the passage of the bill has put public safety at grave risk, including the security of whole neighborhoods where illegal LPG refillers have multiplied," Ty said.
On June 6, a deadly explosion at an illegal LPG refilling station in Barangay Paing, Bantay, Ilocos Sur killed three people, with two others inured.
Police identified the fatalities as Renato Paet of Bantay; Moises Gadut of Vigan City; and Cesar Espiritu of San Fabian, Pangasinan, Ty said.
He added that the victims were all employees of the refilling station that did not have the mandatory license to operate and standard compliance certificate from the Department of Energy (DOE).
The facility also lacked other basic approvals, including a permit from the Bureau of Fire Protection, according to the municipal government.
Using a crane, the victims were trying to transfer a loaded LPG storage tank for repairs when the lifting machine accidentally dropped the pressurized container, the police said.
"Under the stringent safety standards of HB 756, only fully trained and accredited technicians and servicemen may lawfully perform any LPG-related repairs," Ty pointed out.
The Bantay, Ilocus Sur tragedy was the deadliest LPG disaster since the May 31, 2013 explosion at Two Serendra in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, which killed three people and seriously injured a tenant.
It also came about only a few days after an LPG household cylinder flare-up at the Parola Compound in Tondo, Manila injured 42 persons. The June 2 blast also set off a blaze that swept through a row of homes.