House urged to probe sudden fuel price increase

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 04 2019 01:34 PM

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MANILA - A lawmaker has called for an inquiry into the sudden fuel price increase last month and the Department of Energy's policies and formula on oil price.

Marikina Rep. Stella Quimbo, a former commissioner of the Philippine Competition Commission, said the DOE should not require oil firms to abide by its "simple" formula for weekly price adjustments.

"May problema po talaga po dito sa formula na yan. That formula basically sets a maximum, so yung maximum na yan ang problema parepareho across companies. Nasaan na po yung competition natin?" she told radio DZMM.

"Kaya nga dineregulate ang ating oil kasi sinasabi natin na hayaan natin magcompete ang ating companies nang sa ganun pababaan po sila ng presyo."

Quimbo on Monday filed House Resolution 390, which urges the chamber to investigate DOE's policies and the "legality, necessity and determination of the propriety of these sudden fuel price increases" following the attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.

"The DOE pricing formula and policies relating to it may be facilitating tacit collusion or parallel pricing, thereby unnecessarily increasing prices to the detriment of consumers," the resolution read.

Quimbo added that oil firm representatives on Sep. 23 assured senators that the country "has enough fuel supply and may readily source refined and crude oil from other countries should tensions in the Middle East intensify."

However, on the same day, oil companies "simultaneously announced a price increase of P2.35 per liter on gasoline, P1.80 per liter on diesel and P1.75 per liter on kerosene for the week, resulting in the highest increase for 2019."

"Given that the requisite stock of refiners is at least 30 days per Department Circular No. 2003-01-001, the stock being sold right now should be insulated from the supply problem brought about the Saudi Arabia crisis," Quimbo said.

The inquiry might begin after the House of Representatives resumes sessions on Nov. 4, she added.

The Department of Energy earlier sought explanation from oil firms over discrepancies in their latest price adjustments.