by Myrna Velasco – July 10, 2016
from Manila Bulletin
Mindanao consumers are threatened not just on the safety front, but primarily by the substandard quality of fuel products being peddled by illegal traders.
Based on joint data culled from industry players and the Department of Energy (DOE), it was noted that the scale of “oil product peddlers in Mindanao” has been growing at an alarming proportion.
“Almost 650 peddlers are present in rural pockets in Mindanao,” data from oil industry player Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation has indicated.
Such has also been submitted to the energy department previously for its attention and action. Shell will be increasing its operational presence in Mindanao with the scheduled commercial inauguration of its import facility in Cagayan de Oro this month.
As gathered, 32 peddlers have been reported in Naawan, Marawi; 220 in the Sarangani-South Cotabato-Sultan Kudarat (Soccskargen) corridor; 156 in Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon areas; 51 in East Zamboanga City; and 45 in the outskirts of Davao City, with most of the supply allegedly coming from Pantukan in Compostela Valley.
These illegal traders were allegedly “selling gasoline products by P6 to P12 per liter cheaper compared to prevailing pump prices.”
For Mindanao alone, it has been emphasized that the impact of such illegal activity, in terms of volume, would be “100 to 200 liters per day” – and the most affected segments are the public utility vehicles (PUVs) such as tricycles and multicabs.
The DOE has acknowledged that gasoline products peddling emerged to be an increasing threat to the deregulated industry.
It will be adversarial on the part of the consumers who would be patronizing “unsafe products”; and on the part of the government, it is also being deprived of much needed revenues.
As emphasized, these peddlers “have been selling 1.0 liter fuel in plastic or glass container which is a fire hazard to the community” because it veers away from proper protocol or mitigation of product handling.
Mindanao market is not alone though in this dilemma, with the DOE admitting that peddling or fly-by-night marketers of fuel products are also rampant in various parts of the country.