Dagupan LPG refill stations closely watched
by Danny O. Sagun
Dagupan City (26 October) -- ALL Liquefied petroleum gas refilling stations in Pangasinan have been raided by combined law enforcement agencies for violations of trade laws, it was learned recently.
Special Investigator Deogenes Norlo Gallang of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said that in one of the raids, the raiding team confiscated the pump used in refilling empty LPG tanks and several tanks which are identified of those having trademarks of the so-called Big 3 - the multi-nationals Petron, Shell and Caltex.
Refilling stations are not supposed to refill tanks they do not own particularly those owned by the Big 3. But the practice has become prevalent prompting these companies to complain before authorities like the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the NBI.
Aside from such violation, complaints also arose concerning underweight LPG. Gallang said that consumers are actually cheated if they happen to buy a "cheaper" one.
He also said that butane gas is being mixed with the cooking gas quoting representatives of the complaining oil firms who joined the recent raids in at least four refilling stations in the province. Butane gas may have been mixed if the flame looks reddish instead of bluish, he said.
On other issues affecting consumers, he said that the NBI Dagupan also coordinates with other enforcement agencies in the campaign against fake products like medicines, coffee, cigarettes and pirated discs.
He said that Nestle products - Nescafe, Milo and Coffeemate - were once faked by unscrupulous traders. The fake products can be determined thru a close look of packing materials used, he said. The pouch or sachet of the fakes is made more on plastic, not foil as is being used for the original products, he bared. Plastics easily burn but not the foil, he added. Using the naked eye alone, it is difficult to identify which product is original or fake.
He also cautioned consumers about expired products about expired products which can be determined by looking closely at the expiry date. "Kung madaling makuskos yong expiry date nya expired na yon," he noted.
Meanwhile, the NBI agent expressed dismay over the case involving a Pakistani-Filipino who was nabbed with P4 million worth of counterfeit (smuggled) medicines but was allowed to post bail.
He said that one of the cases filed against was non-bailable. "Nakakalungkot kasi isipin mo lang yong pagod namin sa surveillance, tapos ganyan na lang na nakalusot pa," he sighed.
Provincial Prosecutor Segundino Ferrer, who joined Gallang at the Weekly Pantongtongan Tayo radio program of the Philippine Information Agency over Radyo ng Bayan - DZMQ, urged consumers to be very vigilant in their consumer rights as he sought the cooperation of everyone in the campaign against fake products and lousy services.
October is observed as Consumer Welfare Month. (PIA-Pangasinan) [top]