Accessible and affordable energy for all

J. Albert Gamboa J. Albert Gamboa

The midterm elections of 2019 are over, yet the Comelec has been hounded by questions after technical glitches marred the automated electoral system. While the proclamation of winning candidates for local government positions went smoothly, it was twice postponed at the national level, particularly in the party-list and senatorial races.

A party-list group that represents marginalized members of the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) industry is the LPG Marketers’Association (LPGMA). It was organized to provide a common voice for its constituents regarding issues affecting the industry, primarily because LPG is such an important commodity for a great number of Filipino households and businesses.

Eventually, LPGMA evolved into an advocacy group for ordinary consumers to have access to reasonably priced LPG products and exercise their freedom to choose any brand available in the market. In 2009, it registered with the Comelec as a sectoral organization and obtained accreditation under the party-list system to participate in the 2010 elections with success.

LPGMA was triumphant again during the 2013 and 2016 party-list elections. Over the past nine years, its first nominee in the House of Representatives has been Congressman Arnel Ty, who ends his third term in June 2019. Recognizing the significance of making energy more accessible to society, he has filed numerous bills and resolutions in Congress as a proponent of poverty alleviation.

Prior to becoming a legislator, Ty was among the independent refillers and marketers in the LPG sector. He is also the founder of South Pacific, Inc. (SPI), a 100% Filipino company that operates two LPG terminals in Batangas and Cebu.

SPI had its first full year of operations in 2016, when it captured a market share of 6.56% – not bad for a fledging firm up against established local and global players. By 2018, its market share had almost doubled at 13.43%, inching up to No. 3 in industry rank behind leaders Petron and Liquigaz.

Latest data for the first quarter of 2019 showed a 39% rise in SPI’s sales quantity. During the same period, net sales grew 50% and unit margin spiked by 183%.

Balance sheet figures were also posted at improved levels since SPI increased its authorized capital by 250% and paid-up capital by 67%, a move which evidently shows shareholder support and confidence on the firm’s growth potential.

Beyond the stellar financial performance of this rising energy player, SPI has corporate social responsibility programs aligned with its founder’s belief that the delivery of adequate social services would uplift the socio-economic conditions of the poor.

For example, the water shortage that recently hit the eastern part of Metro Manila and some portion of Rizal province stirred the “bayanihan” spirit of both SPI and LPGMA. They immediately deployed their fire trucks to severely affected areas in Quezon City, San Juan, Pasig, and Mandaluyong to ease the situation of residents.

Ty noted that thousands of people suffered because of the sudden, temporary loss of a human necessity like water. “It is during these instances that it becomes everyone’s responsibility to do their share to help out in any manner they can,” he said. Since his organizations own several fire trucks because of their involvement as volunteer fire brigades, it was a reflex action to use these facilities in giving temporary relief to waterless areas.

Now that Ty’s stint in Congress is coming to a close, it is heartening to know that he will continue his advocacies when he returns to the private sector, including the promotion of safety in the workplace, at home, on the streets, and even in community relationships.