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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

LPG industry seals tie-up with PNP

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“The Philippine government is also planning to file an environmental case against China over extensive damage to natural and marine resources in the West Philippine Sea”

If you use liquefied petroleum gas or LPG in your home, chances are you may be taking chances with your family’s safety with substandard tanks and deadly gas leaks.

That’s because the LPG sector has long wanted to get rid of those who only want to make a fast buck, consumer safety be damned.

But the wolves in sheep’s clothing lurking within the sector may soon find their happy days over once they are handcuffed and brought to jail by law enforcers.

Legit LPG manufacturers and dealers have found an ally in cleansing the industry of the bad eggs with the recent assurance from Maj. Gen. Romeo Caramat, Jr., head of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the Philippine National Police, that he would be relentless in running after LPG business operators engaged in illegal practices.

Here, the CIDG can invoke Republic Act 11592, also known as the LPG Law, that lays down clear guidelines for the sector to ensure the safe and proper use of LPG products.

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While the Department of Energy and the LPG sector have tried to keep the industry safe from the clutches of those engaged in illegal activities, what’s needed is decisive action from law enforcers.

Ample proof of this is the recent CIDG raid on a large warehouse illegally storing canisters and other LPG refill equipment, according to the CIDG Anti-Fraud and Commercial Crimes Unit.

With Caramat himself giving the LPG sector firm assurances the CIDG will closely monitor those engaged in illegal activities, the government would benefit in the end as offenders will be compelled to abide by the law by obtaining the proper permits and paying the correct taxes.

Apart from stopping the illegal activities of a few opportunist LPG business operators, the CIDG will also strive to resolve other issues in the LPG sector such as keeping employees and work places drug-free, and ensuring compliance with responsible practices for the safety of LPG users.

For former party-list congressman Arnel Ty of the LPG Marketers Association, what is important is for stakeholders to keep the industry clean and trusted by consumers, with law enforcers helping them obtain the seal of good housekeeping.

Filing of court case vs. China

Why not challenge China to submit to arbitration its territorial dispute over Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal to finally settle which country has sovereignty over it?

That’s the suggestion of former Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio recently. It appears a reasonable course of action, coming from someone who’s familiar with international law.

Carpio’s proposal is his response to China’s earlier allegation the Philippines illegally entered its waters near Panatag Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc, which is within the Philippines’ 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone.

“We have to challenge China to submit the dispute to arbitration because that’s the only solution. Let the arbitral tribunal decide who has sovereignty over Scarborough Shoal,” Carpio said.

Bringing the dispute to arbitration, particularly before the United Nations International Court of Justice, should be voluntary, he said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs, Carpio said, could issue an official challenge to China to submit the case to the ICJ. If Beijing refuses, he added, it is because “their claim is weak and they know they will lose.”

“If China really believes they own it, then they should be willing to submit it to arbitration and we’ll tell the world we’re ready to arbitrate and let the ICJ decide the case and we will abide by that decision,” the former jurist argued.

Carpio explained the Philippines’ 2016 arbitral award invalidating China’s nine-dash (now ten-dash) line virtually claiming the entire South China Sea “was only talking of the maritime dispute,” but the decision can also apply to territorial claims.

“These are two separate disputes governed by different laws. So we have to start a new case on the territorial dispute,” he said.

The Philippine government is also planning to file an environmental case against China over extensive damage to natural and marine resources in the West Philippine Sea.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla recently said they want to file the case by early next year. This is another step in the right direction.

Proposals to file cases against China in international tribunals may be time-consuming and costly, but we might need to do this amid China’s insistence on its historically and legally infirm claim to own practically the whole of the South China Sea.

(Email: ernhil@yahoo.com)

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