Jun 062013

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Energy (DOE) is urging local government units (LGUs) to streamline procedures in putting up retail gasoline stations in their areas, a ranking energy official said.

Zenaida Monsada, director of the DOE’s Oil Industry Management Bureau, said they are coordinating with LGUs to explore ways on how to streamline business processes in their respective areas and pave the way for the construction of more retail stations around the country.

“There is a lot of room for improvement in the existing retail rules. More players are coming in,” Monsada said during the Industry Emergency Response 2013, a safety forum organized by the Philippine Institute of Petroleum (PIP), an industry group of oil firms.

She noted that at present, LGUs require so many documents before companies can put up gasoline stations.

“There are numerous requirements. We have the mayor’s permit and so many other permits so what we’re looking at is how we can help the energy sector,” Monsada.

Initially, the planned agreement with LGUs would focus on gasoline stations but may eventually cover other energy projects.

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Monsada said they hope to finalize the agreement within the year.

At present, there are 5,000 registered retail gasoline stations around the country.

During yesterday’s IERO 2013 safety forum, industry players stressed the importance of safety as they warned the public against the practice of some merchants of selling fuel oil in bottles.

Monsada said the unregulated nature of the “bote-bote” retail practice is dangerous because it poses health and fire hazards to both the retailers and buyers.

As such, she said the DOE hopes to make it easier for legitimate businesses to put up retail gasoline stations.

She said in some provinces, people resort to buying fuel oil in bottles because there are no gasoline stations.

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