Monday, November 06, 2006

Gusa folk protest LPG refilling station's operations

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (Ben Balce / Nov. 6) - RESIDENTS of Gusa yesterday called on city hall to immediately act on their complaint against a company that set up a liquefied petroleum gas refilling station in the barangay.

The residents said they feared that ‘‘a mere spark can cause an explosion’’ in Gusa.

Hundreds of residents protested and filed a complaint against the refilling station set up by Pryce Gases at Purok 1.

In their complaint filed before the city council, they asked the city government to intervene and immediately stop the operations of Pryce Gases in Gusa for fear that an explosion would spark a fire in the barangay.

They also criticized Barangay Gusa chairperson Erick Salcedo and other village officials, saying their leaders have not been giving the problem much attention.

The company started operating in the barangay early this year allegedly without a "social acceptability certificate," said Mamerto Cullano, one of the complainants.

Cullano and his group has started a signature campaign in Gusa in hopes of pressuring local officials into stopping Pryce Gases from operating the refilling station.

Cullano said the refilling station has also inconvenienced residents in that it emits foul odor especially at night.

Cullano said a public consultation called by barangay officials on the operations of the refilling station was stage-managed. He said barangay officials were clearly in favor of the operations.

Salcedo was unavailable for comment when this paper tried to press him for comment.
Pryce Gases opted to keep mum and referred this paper to its lawyer, one Darwin Sarraga.

Councilor Zaldy Ocon said he would bring the matter before the attention of the city council this afternoon.

"Hundreds of residents who live near the refilling stations are in danger. Explosive materials need to be handled with care," Ocon said.

Ocon said he would also look into an ordinance that regulates the operations of companies like Pryce Gases in residential areas.

‘‘One small mistake, under the prevailing situation, can lead to a major catastrophe,’’ he said.


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