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In spite of the rising fuel cost in the province of Palawan, lowering it into reasonable one is possible, Board Member Ryan Maminta recently said.
Citing Baguio City as an example, Committee on Energy chairman, Board Member Maminta assured Palaweños that their request for a cheaper price of fuel is possible through the help of the Energy Department.
“We will hold a high level of forum regarding this matter para malaman kung ano talaga ang sanhi [ng mataas na presyo ng mga produktong petrolyo rito], kung papaano natin [ito] mapabababa….Ang Baguio City almost pareho lang ‘yan ng Palawan—sa layo, sa tinatahak na transportation cost, napababa nila [ang presyo ng langis] ng P3; tinulungan talaga sila ng DOE,” he said.
Board Member Maminta said that the Department of Energy (DOE) guaranteed them that they can help the local leaders thru the ‘power of persuasion.’
“[The] DOE will go here sa Palawan to help us regarding this matter and si Asst. Sec. Pulido, siya mismo nag-assure sa akin—tumawag siya sa akin [at pinangako] na tutulungan ng DOE ‘yung Palawan,” Maminta disclosed.
Apart from an intervention, he added that the said agency also promised to help the province to have its own import terminal.
“Pagdating sa bagay na ito…, malaking bagay ‘yun kapag na-establish natin dito kasi makababawas ito ng costing ng pagdadala ng fuel products,” he said.
THE RESULT OF COMMITTEE MEETING
Last week, the Committee on Energy conducted a meeting and attended by all oil players in the city and in the province. During the hearing, Maminta said that concerned companies explained their side and submitted a computations for their fuel costing although they were not complete because of the existing Oil Deregulation Law. The DOE was not around because they are busy in securing their infrastructures and installation and of the other oil companies in Batangas, due to the eruption of Taal Volcano.
“Doon nga lang sa pag-move nila to unbundle ‘yung costing ng fuel pati transport papuntang mga lugar-lugar ng mga malalayong lugar sa Pilipinas, ngayon ko lang din nalaman na there is an existing TRO para hindi ma-unbundle ng mga companies ‘yung mga bagay na ‘yun. So, ang ibinigay nila roon [sa nakaraaang meeting], hindi ‘yun kompleto kasi may TRO ang Supreme Court regarding the unbundling of fuel pricing,” he explained.
Fortunately, he relayed that in Sangguniang Panlalawigan’s request to lower down the existing prevailing price across the province of Palawan, the oil companies and traders signified their support and told them to send communication to their main depots in mainland Luzon.
SOME REASONS OF HIGH PRICE OF FUELS
He said that according to the oil players, some factors that affect the price of fuels are the existence of oil smuggling in the high seas and the selling of diesel and gasoline through what they called as “bote-bote,” especially in far-flung area of the province and also practiced in the City of Puerto Princesa.
“Kapag sumubra ka ng ten percent [sa tubo ng ibinebentang produkto], profiteering na ‘yun. Ang sabi naman nila, hindi pa sila sumusubra ng ten percent. Di pa natin [talaga] alam kasi wala pa ang DOE to really meticulously enlighten us regarding this matter,” Maminta said.
He added that, during the committee hearing, they also asked the oil traders and companies on why it is easy for them to increase the price of their products when there is price hike but too slow to give roll back.
“So, isa ito sa mga concern na ipararating natin sa DOE—ano ba ‘yung time element na kung saan, malalaman na nag-announce ng price increase ngayon, ilang araw pa makarating o mauubos ang inventory ng mga oil company, gas stations bago nila ipatupad ang pagtaas the same with roll back,” he exclaimed.
He also added that the petroleum traders in Palawan expressed their sentiments, stating that they were hurt on the issue that they are selling over-priced fuel and oil products. But according to Maminta, he explained to them that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan’s intention is not to degrade them but to know their side, leading to have a fair and just pricing of fuel products in the province.
“Kasi iba-iba [ang presyo] eh! Sa Bayan ng Taytay, mas mababa roon ng P5 [kaysa] sa Puerto Princesa. Why? [Tapos] punta ka ng Brooke’s Point, Narra and Aborlan, mas mataas ng kunti, punta ka ng Cuyo mas mataas; How’s that? What are the factors? We want to enlighten the factors and then i-disseminate natin sa mga tao tapos kung mayroon tayong adjustment [pwede naman], why not di ba!?” he told the reporters.
AMENDMENT OF OIL DEREGULATION LAW
BM Maminta also disclosed that currently, the DOE is in the process of proposing for an amendment in Oil Deregulation Law in order that the oil companies will not be the ones having full power when it comes to oil products.