Prices of fuel and petroleum products in Palawan can be reduced by as much as P2 per liter, according to Board Member Ryan Maminta.

Maminta, chair of the committee on energy at the Provincial Board, said this was relayed to him recently by a representative of the Department of Energy (DOE) following a meeting about “unbundling” high petroleum and fuel prices in the province with representatives of oil companies and other stakeholders.

Maminta said the DOE assured it will help in taking the edge off exorbitant petroleum and fuel prices.

“Kayang pababain [hanggang dalawang piso] at ang DOE ang makakatulong natin. DOE will go here in Palawan baka February ay available na sila to help us resolve this matter. Sila mismo ang nag-assure sa atin na tutulong sila. Ang sabi nila ay they will really help Palawan para mababa ang presyo,” he said.

Maminta said the oil companies have also expressed willingness to cooperate as they are also affected by accusations that they are overcharging due to the distance of Palawan from where petroleum and fuel products are being sourced.

He said representatives of these oil companies have sounded off that their integrity is already suffering because of issues of that they are being abusive.

“They have stated na masyado na silang naaapektuhan, integrity wise, sa lumalabas na issue na umaabuso sila but we assured them na hindi naman ‘yon nanggagaling sa punto ng Sangguniang Panlalawigan. Hopefully, magkaroon kami ng high-level forum regarding this para malaman din kung ano talaga ang sanhi [ng mataas na presyo] at kung ano ang [puwedeng] solusyon,” Maminta said.

Previously, Malacañang Cabinet Sec. Karlo Nograles warned oil companies against the excessive prices citing surcharge of around P10 compared to the national price.

His statement was also followed by additional pressure from the city government through councilor Peter Maristela, who pushed for the implementation of an energy department circular requiring companies to “unbundle” their fuel prices, a policy that will expose to public scrutiny their profit margins.

However, the implementation of the circular was halted when the Mandaluyong City Regional Trial Court Branch 213 granted the petition for declaratory relief with an application for a temporary restraining order (TRO) or preliminary injunction by Petron.

“While the implementation of the circular is pending, the local government of Puerto Princesa should pass measures to ensure that the public interest is still protected from the unreasonable price of gasoline and diesel products and to take steps to rein in the oil firms’ overpricing and profiteering,” he said.