The House committee on energy has created a technical working group (TWG) that will fine tune a bill imposing stiffer penalties for people who make adulterated petroleum products.
The TWG to be chaired jointly by Rep. Reynaldo Umali (2nd District, Oriental Mindoro) and Rep. Carlos Roman Uybarreta (Party-list, I-CARE) will fine tune House Bill 27 authored by Umali, according to committee chairman, Rep. Lord Alan Jay Velasco (Lone District, Marinduque).
HB 27 seeks to amend Sections 3-A and 4 of Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1865.
PD 1865 is also known as “Amending Batas Pambansa (BP) Bilang 33, Entitled ‘An Act Defining And Penalizing Certain Prohibited Acts Inimical To The Public Interests And National Security Involving Petroleum And/Or Petroleum Products, Prescribing Penalties Therefor And For Other Purposes,’ By Including Shortselling And Adulteration Of Petroleum And Petroleum Products And Other Acts In The Definition Of Prohibited Acts, Increasing The Penalties Therein, And For Other Purposes.”
PD 1865 prohibits illegal trading in petroleum and/or petroleum products; adulteration of finished petroleum products, or possession of adulterated finished products for the purpose of sale, distribution, transportation, exchange or barter and underdelivery or underfiling beyond authorized limits in the sale of petroleum products or possession of underfilled liquefied petroleum gas cylinder for the purpose of sale, distribution, transportation, exchange or barter, among others.
Under the law, the Department of Energy (DOE) fines violators P10,000.
Violators can also be charged criminally. Under BP 33, a convicted violator shall be fined from P20,000 to P50,000, or imprisoned for at least two to five years, or both.
HB 27 raises the violation fine to P100,000 or suspension or removal of the license or permit of an oil, importer, refiner, hauler, marketer, refiller, dealer, sub-dealer, or retail outlet. For a convicted violator, the fine is raised to P300,000 or imprisonment of at least three years but not more than six years, or both.
Based on studies, Metro Manila’s air pollution problem is caused primarily by vehicular emissions, mostly coming from diesel engines.
While attention has been given to lack of engine maintenance as the culprit, the role of fuel quality has escaped the scrutiny of regulators and policy makers, according to Umali.
The unwitting use of institutionally adulterated diesel (IAD) in transport vehicles, particularly buses, trucks and jeepneys, is the primary and major cause of smoke belching, Umali said.