Jul 6, 2020

Palawan officials demand probe on high prices of fuel

File photo

The City government is exerting additional pressure on oil companies to justify the steep prices of fuel in Palawan compared to other island locations.

At the City Council this week,  Councilor Peter Maristela welcome Cabinet Sec. Karlo Nograles’ statement that Malacañang has taken notice of the current fuel price situation in Palawan.

Maristela pushed for the implementation of an energy department circular requiring companies to “unbundle” their fuel prices, a policy that will expose to public scrutiny the companies’ 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.

He said the present investigation of the DOE will help the expedient determination of the reasonable price that should prevail in the city and province.

“While the implementation of the circular is pending, the local government of Puerto Princesa must 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.

He also said that the current price of gasoline per liter in the city range from P59 to P62 while diesel is around P50 to P51.

In the MIMAROPA region, particularly in Calapan City, the prices of gasoline per liter only range from P41 to P43, P45 to P50 in Occidental Mindoro, and P43 to P49 in Marinduque, he said.

“Gumawa kami ng research sa Region 4B at sobrang laki ng kaibahan kaya humihingi tayo ng tulong kasi ito ay obserbasyon na rin ng mga taga-Puerto pati na rin ng mga bumibisita rito sa siyudad. Sinasabi nila na bakit napakataas ng gasolina sa lungsod, ilang beses na natin napatawag ang mga representative ng mga gasoline station pero ang sabi nila ay matagal na rin nilang nasimulan ito, matagal na at pinagpapatuloy na lang nila,” he said.

Recently, board member Ryan Maminta also brought up the same matter before the Provincial Board during a privilege speech.

Maminta said oil companies have claimed that high fuel prices are due to exorbitant “transportation cost”.

But he pointed out that based on Malacañang’s calculation, the spike should not be as high as P10.

“Kung ikukumpara talaga natin ang presyo ng petrolyo particular sa MIMAROPA and Western Visayas ay parang may additional tayong P10 doon sa costing ng fuel. Sana ang investigation ay makatulong para makita natin ang tamang pricing dito sa Palawan at sa siyudad ng Puerto Princesa,” Maminta said.

Board member David Francis Ponce de Leon said the Provincial Board is also willing to propose legislative measures that can help solve the problem.

“Ito ay hindi makakasagabal doon sa investigation because we are the highest policy making body. Baka doon sa mapag-usapan ay makagawa tayo ng policy or other measure na makakatulong [para mapababa ang presyo],” Ponce de Leon said.

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