MANILA, Philippines--Independent retailers and refillers of liquefied petroleum gas are opposing the LPG bill, saying this will only bring back the industry to a monopoly by the oil majors.
?The LPG bill, if passed, will not promote public welfare and safety. It will promote the interest of oil companies supporting the bill and cylinder manufacturers, with the view of eliminating independent players and bring back monopoly,? said the LPG Marketers Association (LPGMA) and the LPG Refillers Association (LPGRA) in a paid ad.
The two groups also claimed that the pending LPG bill would only inhibit the consumers? right to choose lower-priced brands.
These groups said a consumer should not be prevented from buying a less expensive LPG brand by not allowing ?the exchange of an empty LPG cylinder bearing a different brand. That would be anticonsumer.?
?The oil companies supporting the LPG bill say consumers do not own their LPG cylinders and must therefore purchase LPG only from them. That would assure the monopoly of these companies,? they added.
LPGMA and LPGRA further stressed that a cheaper LPG did not necessarily mean it is substandard or unsafe.
?Independent players sell reasonably priced LPG because their profit margins are low and that their distribution chains are simpler, ? they said.
They noted that as of Oct. 12, the average price of an 11-kilogram Gasul LPG was P580 while Shellane was P590. Those being sold by the independent players were only P520 per cylinder.
The groups also questioned allegations that there were six million substandard LPG cylinders in the market. This allegation, they claimed, was being paddled as a fact.
?Where did the figure come from? Is this properly documented and verified? Could this be exaggerated to railroad the passage of the LPG bill to benefit cylinder manufacturers?? they asked.
Also, the pending LPG bill does not address the issue of fires related to LPG, the groups said.