Committee finds no overpricing by oil firms

by Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 05 2012 02:10 PM | Updated as of Sep 06 2012 05:43 PM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - There is no overpricing in fuel prices and oil companies' profits are reasonable.

This is the essence of the findings of the independent oil price review committee formed by the Department of Energy earlier this year. The committee was formed  to look into allegations of overpricing of oil companies.

In an briefing, the committee said there is nothing extraordinary about the movements of pump prices in the Philippines. 

Diesel prices are even lower than Thailand until the government there provided fuel subsidies, the group said.

"Walang ebidensya na nag ooverprice sila... na sobra sobra ang tubo," said committee chairman and economist Benjamin Diokno.

Asked if this will erase all accusations that oil prices in the Philippines are overpriced, Diokno said, "We challenge them to do the same study." 

The group also recommends that government continue to support the oil deregulation regime and resist the temptation to subsidize fuel consumption. 

It also suggests that government review the deregulation of fares in public uility vehicles to compensate for rising or falling fuel prices. 

For its part, DOE director Zenaida Monsada says they are happy as their usual contention that fuel prices now has basis or models. Monsada said she does not expect that protests and accusations will stop but hopefully it will lessen with the results of the study. 

According to Monsada, if fuel prices are kept artificially cheaper, motorists will not really practice cost-cutting measures.