Slex LPG flare-up could have been avoided – solon

EXPLOSIONS of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders on the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) could have been prevented had Congress passed a long-pending bill seeking to impose strict safety standards in the hauling of the cooking fuel, a lawmaker said.

Rep. Arnel Ty, of the LPG Marketers’ Association (LPG-MA) sectoral party, said the mishap could have been avoided, had the proposed Act Establishing the Regulatory Framework for the Safe Operations of the LPG Industry, or House Bill (HB) 5052, been enacted by Congress.

Multiple explosions rocked the SLEX early Monday morning after the six-wheel truck carrying more than 50 LPG tanks flipped near the Sucat exit in Parañaque City.

“Under stringent standards governing the road transfer of LPG, cylinders are not supposed to get thrown out of the truck in the event it is involved in an accident,” said Ty, a member of the House energy committee.

“It is also possible the truck was overloaded (with LPG tanks). This might explain why the truck supposedly swerved from left to right before it fell on its side,” he added.

The 55-member House committee on trade and industry strongly endorsed HB 5052 for plenary approval more than 10 months ago, but for some reason its passage has been stalled, Ty lamented.

The bill, authored by Ty himself and 21 colleagues in the House, sets comprehensive and rigorous standards meant to ensure the safe storage, refilling, distribution, transportation and use of LPG.

“Congress should act fast, and not wait for far more deadly accidents involving LPG blasts to happen. Otherwise, blood might be in our hands,” Ty said.

He said the wayward truck in Monday’s accident could have crashed into a highly populated area, which would have caused a bigger disaster.

HB 5052 likewise sets adequate strategies to ensure that every cylinder coming out of a refilling plant has gone through painstaking safety or re-qualifying tests. Cylinders damaged from normal wear and tear would be promptly detected, repaired and re-qualified, or scrapped, as the case may be.

The bill also includes a one-time exchange program for the benefit of consumers possessing dilapidated LPG cylinders. This would enable the systematic removal and replacement of all defective and substandard cylinders in the open market.

“There’s no question the proliferation of unsafe cylinders has contributed to the increase in highly destructive accidental fires,” Ty said. He cited the case of the kitchen fire that killed four people, including two children, in Barangay Pinagsama Village,Taguig City on April 29.

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