Albano savors chance to help pass late dad’s pet bill

Published August 4, 2020, 6:15 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Isabela 1st district Rep. Antonio “Tonypet” Albano ushered forward Tuesday what would have been his late father’s pet measure on the institutionalization of a regulatory framework for the safe operations of the local liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) industry.

Isabela Rep. Antonio “Tonypet” Albano
(Photo from Tonypet Albano Facebook page via PNA / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Tackled during a joint virtual hearing of the House Committees on Energy and on Trade and Industry were House Bills (HB) No. 302 and 5642, or the proposed LPG Regulation and Safety Act.

After nearly two hours of discussion, co-presiding officer and Energy panel chairman, Marinduque lone district Rep. Lord Allan Velasco allowed Albano to make the key motion that would move the measure closer toward its long-sought enactment.

“I move that we try to consolidate HB 302 and HB 5642 and create a technical working group (TWG) so we can pass this soonest,” Albano said.

He noted that the measure was “thoroughly discussed” already during the previous Congress and that consumers have been “clamoring for this.”

“I believe that in reconciling (the two bills), we would like to ask everyone to make their comments, amendments, and put their amendments there so we can proceed in filing a more comprehensive bill that can be taken by up this committee again and passed, and hopefully passed into law,” he said.

When other solons participating in the hearing commented tongue-in-cheek that Albano was making a rather long-winded motion, the Isabela lawmaker couldn’t help but mention his late father, LPGMA Party-list Rep. Rodolfo Albano Jr.

“Syempre (Of course),” Albano said, acknowledging his colleagues’ joke and laughing with them.

“Dapat tatay ko nga mag-sponsor niyan kaya lang last year, he’s gone to heaven (My father was supposed to sponsor that bill but he’s gone to heaven last year),” he noted.

Albano Jr., elected as member of the current 18th Congress, died from a lingering illness at age 85 in November 2019. The Albanos are influential in Isabela, where the late solon’s son, Rodolfo “Rodito” Albano III, is the incumbent provincial governor.

The late Albano’s co-nominee, LPGMA Party-List Rep. Allan Ty, sponsored HB No.5642 before the joint panel. Tarlac 2nd district Rep. Victor Yap, author of HB No. 302, wasn’t around for Tuesday’s proceedings.

Velasco swiftly carried the motion calling for a TWG and named Quezon City 4th district Rep. Bong Suntay as TWG chairman. Suntay is a vice-chairman of the Trade committee.

“They can actually harmonize the House bills with (Senate Bill No.1188) so that it would move faster. I think one of the things we should add, which I think is present in the Senate version, is a section on the responsibilities of the LPG industry participants,” he said, referring to the counterpart measure in the Upper Chamber.

Former House member, LPG Marketers Association President Arnel Ty attended the virtual hearing as a resource person. “This bill has been filed since the 12th Congress. Hopefully this bill will get passed in this Congress,” he said.

“The most important provision of this bill is about consumers’ right to choose whatever brand he chooses to use and also his right to be refunded on his deposits. And also to make sure that all cylinders in the market are safe and free of dilapidated cylinders,” Ty said.

Of the estimated 18 to 20 million total LPG cylinders in the market, Ty pegged the number of dilapidated cylinders at around four million. LPG is primarily used by Filipinos as cooking fuel.