Police raid ‘illegal’ butane refilling plant in Lapu-Lapu

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NEARLY P4 million worth of equipment, tanks of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and butane canisters were seized in a police raid on Thursday evening, April 8, 2021.

These were confiscated from a plant suspected to be illegally refilling LPG in butane canisters. The plant is located in Sitio Casanta, Barangay Mactan in Lapu-Lapu City.

The raid was organized by the Regional Intelligence Division (RID) 7, Department of Energy 7, and City Intelligence Branch of the Lapu-Lapu City Police Office.

According to Police Major Glenn Hefe of the RID 7, when the police arrived at the plant, the owners were no longer there and the security guard could not present documents that authorized the refilling operation.

The police confiscated 28 tanks of 50-kilogram LPG tanks, 67 boxes containing 136 empty butane canisters, 594 LPG-filled butane canisters, eight gas refilling machines, and one big LPG tank marked LPG Gas Manu Gas Manufacturing.

Barangay Mactan Captain Evaristo Dihayco and other officials witnessed the raid.

Complaints

Before conducting the raid, the RID 7 had received letters of complaint from the Office of the President’s Citizens’ Complaint Hotline (8888) and the Department of Energy (DOE) detailing the illegal operation.

The RID 7 and its operating unit, Regional Special Operations Group , coordinated with the DOE’s Central Visayas office before launching the raid.

An intelligence operative posed as a customer. After the canister was refilled with butane and given to the operative, the operatives declared their identities and seized the illegal items.

Hefe said the plant’s operation was illegal as it has no permit from the DOE, and refilling LPG into butane canisters is also prohibited as butane canisters are not designed for LPG.

The DOE will file charges against the plant’s owners for violating Batas Pambansa Bilang 33 as amended by Presidential Decree (PD) 1865, which prohibits the illegal sale of petroleum products. (AYB / NRC)