MANILA, Philippines — Some local politicians are allegedly raising campaign funds through syndicates engaged in hijacking fuel tankers, a lawmaker said Friday.
LPG Marketers’ Association (LPG-MA) Partylist Representative Arnel Ty cited recent “law enforcement intelligence reports showing that fuel thieves have stepped up their criminal activities to help produce fresh campaign funds for certain shady local politicians.”
He said that these local politicians allegedly protected gangs which seized fuel tankers in Metro Manila and Central Luzon and urged newly appointed Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla to take action.
“These syndicates and their coddlers are not only defrauding government of millions of pesos in lawful tax revenues; they are also swindling consumers who end up unwittingly buying short-filled LPG cylinders,” the legislator said.
Communities near “shifty refilling stations” used by the syndicates to peddle stolen fuel were also being placed at risk, he added. “They do not have to live by any safety standards whatsoever, so they are definitely putting at grave risk whole neighborhoods.”
He also urged authorities to step up their operations against groups hijacking fuel tankers on the road, saying “this is really a law enforcement problem. The only reason these gangs have been emboldened to ply their nefarious trade is because they have not be apprehended and put behind bars.”
The principal author of House Bill 5052 or the Act Establishing the Regulatory Framework for the Safe Consumption and Operations of the LPG Industry, Ty is urging fellow lawmakers to back the proposed measure which has been endorsed for plenary debate.
The bill seeks to protect consumers as well as lawful industry participants from fraudulent refillers and traders, hoarders, and illegal importers of second-hand and substandard cylinders.