Councilor Luis Marcaida III airing his call for an inquiry on the fuel price hikes in a privilege during the regular session of the City Council. (PN photo)
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Councilor Elgin Damasco has revived his call for the city government of Puerto Princesa to establish its own gasoline station amid the continuing increase in fuel prices.

Damasco made the call after Councilor Luis Marcaida III sought to invite major oil industry players to an inquiry to explain the series of oil price hikes.

“May I propose that we invite three main players in Puerto Princesa City in the fuel industry n order to shed light and give us the right information. Is it because of war in Ukraine? Is it because there is a shortage of supply – I believe we can do something,” Marcaida said in his privilege speech during the regular session of the city council.

Damasco then said that during the previous administration, several moves had been made to make oil players disclose the reasons for oil price hikes, yet nothing happened. He said even the national government, particularly the Department of Energy, was not able to do anything because the government’s hands were tied by the oil deregulation law.

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“Hindi lang ito nangyari ngayon. Maging sa nakaraang mga taon problema na natin, simula nang maisabatas ang Oil Deregulation Law, tali ang kamay ng gobyerno, maging ang ating presidente walang nagawa. Ilang beses na ring may nag-propose ng amendment sa naturang batas sa senado, wala ring nagawa dahil nga sa impluwensya ng mga oil players,” Damasco said.

“Sinikap ng Department of Energy na tingnan ang kanilang records kung totoo ba, tama ba yung presyo nila. Natalo sila sa local court sa Manila at umabot sa Supreme Court talo pa rin sila. Ang sabi ng Supreme Court, bawal ninyo i-regulate yung presyo nila kaya we are always at their mercy pagdating sa presyo,” he added.

With the new calls for inquiry, Damasco then said he is once again calling for the establishment of a city government-owned gasoline station. He also said he had already had talks with a supplier who was willing to give a discount to the city government.

“Napapanahon na talaga na magtayo na ng sariling gasoline station, isama natin sa budget. By July-August, mag-uusap na tayo ng budget para sa susunod na taon, sana masuportahan ng buong konseho. Dapat nang mailagay sa budget ang pagtatayo ng isang gasoline station owned and managed by the city government of Puerto Princesa. Kinuwenta na rin ng inyong lingkod, kung halimbawa maka-discount tayo ng P15 to P18 pesos, kung mag-mark up lang tayo ng P5, kikita pa rin ang city government,” he said.

“Kaya nire-reiterate ko ang plano ni mayor na magtayo ng gasoline station, suportahan natin, siguruhin natin na sa susunod na taon, meron nang budget para sa pagpapatayo ng gasoline station sa lungsod,” he emphasized.

He further stated that the mayor has identified several sites where the gasoline stations may be built, including Barangays Irawan, Kamuning, and Salvacion, and one in an area around the Balayong People’s Park in Brgy. Tiniguiban.

“At dahil may city government-owned gasoline station na mas mura, wala na rin sigurong magagawa ang ibang oil players kundi magbaba din ng kanilang presyo dahil baka wala nang pupunta sa kanila at malulugi na ang kanilang kumpanya o ang kanilang gasoline station. Sabi ko nga, sa huli, ang presyo ng petrolyo, depende yan sa konsensya ng may-ari (ng gasoline station,)” explaining further that the city government-owned gasoline station is the only solution to the problem of fuel prices.

Meanwhile, Marcaida welcomed Damasco’s suggestions, stating that he was not aware of any moves by the previous administrations.

“With that information, it would be a feather under our wings to start discussing this particular subject matter. With this pressing problem, we have to act because we do not see any condition that the price of fuel is going down but it continues to increase,” he said.

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