‘Two other LPG blasts at the Fort must be probed’

A lawmaker urges government to investigate two other explosions that took place before the Two Serendra blast, and pushes for a new law to address the problem

MASSIVE DAMAGE. The explosion at Two Serendra Unit 501B blew out a wall that crushed a passing truck, killing 3. Photo by Robin Leonard

MANILA, Philippines – Even before the deadly Two Serendra blast in May that killed 3 and injured 4, two other Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)-related explosions took place at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.

In a statement, LPG-MA Rep Arnel Ty, a member of the House energy committee, urged the Department of Energy (DOE) to investigate both to ensure that Bonifacio Gas Corp (BGC) — the supplier of LPG piped-in gas to all of the Fort, or Bonifacio Global City — “has adequate LPG system-wide safety controls as well as localized checks per building to minimize the risk of untoward incidents in the future.” (LPG-MA stands for LPG Marketers’ Association.)

Ty is also a member of the House public order and safety committee.

The two incidents are an explosion on Jan 30, 2013, and another accident on March 1, 2011, according to Ty.

The first one, which blew off manhole covers and caused a flash fire in at least one manhole, occurred in front of Two Parkade at the corner of 7th Ave and 30th St. The second one took place when heavy construction equipment punctured an underground LPG pipeline. The explosion at the corner of Rizal Drive and 32nd St, damaged a pipeline and temporarily disrupted LPG supply to some buildings.

According to Ty, no one was hurt in both incidents.

The call for a probe on the two incidents is a result of growing concern over the safety of an LPG piped-in gas system, after the explosion in the posh Serendra condominium on May 31. Investigators say the blast was caused by a gas leak, although what triggered the leak has yet to be determined.

READ: Serendra revisted: Facts, more questions

Since the blast, certain safety measures have been put in place, including mandatory gas leak detectors with automatic switch off valves for all establishments plugged into BGC’s supply, as well as a permanent shut off of LPG supply to Serendra.

Necessary bill

But Ty believes this is not enough.

The proposed “Act Establishing the Regulatory Framework for the Conduct of Business and the Safe Operations of the LPG Industry,” seeks rigorous standards for “safe storage, refilling, distribution, transportation and consumption of LPG,” Ty said. It also requires “every LPG installation, including centralized underground pipelines, to obtain and renew annually, a highly improved standard compliance certificate to be issued by the DOE,” which attests to compliance with government’s safety regulations.

The bill was approved by the House in the last Congress, but only at the committee level.

Ty said the bill is much needed. He pointed out that the Serendra explosion is the 3rd major LPG-triggered incident recorded in and around Metro Manila this year.

In April, an LPG tanker truck exploded in a refilling station in General Trias, Cavite, a blast that injured 4, including a 7-year-old boy. This was preceded by an LPG blast in an apartment building in Sta. Mesa, Manila in January, which injured at least 12, including 3 children. – Rappler.com

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