The Department of Energy (DOE) is reiterating its warning to the public of the dangers "bote-bote" may cause to lives and properties. This is with the observed rampant proliferation of illegal sale of liquid fuels (i.e., gasoline, diesel) in “bote-bote.”
Energy Secretary Zenaida Y. Monsada strongly emphasized that “peddling of liquid fuels in any container, such as soda bottles, plastic bottles, jugs and other similar portable containers are strictly prohibited,” which is stipulated under the existing Department Circular No. DC2003-11-010 also known as the Retail Rules. She also stressed that improper handling of liquid fuels may lead to accidental fire, illnesses due to inhalation of hazardous fumes, and undesirable effects to the environment.
The DOE noted that liquid fuels are highly combustible and flammable products, and therefore require proper storage and handling as provided under the Fire Code of the Philippines. Thus, as the country observes the National Fire Prevention Month spearheaded by the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), "bote-bote" must not be patronized, especially following increase of cases of fire accidents during summer period.
In order to eliminate the bote-bote scheme, the DOE encourages persistent participation of the consuming public, mostly motorists, in this advocacy by buying from authorized and formal gas stations only, instead of patronizing illegal liquid fuel peddlers, as this does not assure the public of “proper fuel quality and right quantity.” The motorists should realize that they may actually be short changed, and end up spending more for repairs, or worse, accidents.
Meanwhile, the local government units (LGUs) are being deprived of revenue from business permits, taxes, pump calibration charges, etc. which are being collected from legitimate gas stations, while subjecting their constituents to fire hazards. Moreover, the fuel products retailed in “bote-bote” may be sourced from illegal activities, such as smuggling, pilferage and theft.
Recognizing the interconnection of these operations to other illegal activities, the DOE strongly calls on all LGUs for their stronger determination to ensure utmost consumer protection by implementing existing rules against “bote-bote” in their localities, such as apprehending illegal peddlers and confiscating violative liquid fuels.
“Recently, we’ve met with the League of Mayors of Cebu to gain their support by committing to protect the public, particularly their constituents, from unsafe, hazardous, illegal retailing of liquid fuels in bote-bote in their area. We are also planning to replicate the same initiative with other LGUs or even elevate it to the National League of Mayors,” said Energy Undersecretary Donato D. Marcos.
Furthermore, the DOE strengthens its partnerships with the industry players and the LGUs, by reviewing and amending existing Retail Rules, facilitating drafting of local ordinances, as well as conducting massive information, education, and communication campaigns, to prevent “bote-bote” from further proliferation.
To report any information on "unauthorized selling of petroleum products," please call the nearest fire station in your locality through BFP, the concerned local authorities, or any of the following DOE offices: Oil Industry Management Bureau: (02) 840-2130;
Luzon Field Office: (075) 656-0114; Visayas Field Office: (032) 253-3459; and Mindanao Field Office: (082) 22-0778 (DOE)