By Myrna Velasco
Uy-led Phoenix Petroleum Philippines Inc. has initiated pump price rollbacks again this weekend – reducing its diesel prices by P1.00 per liter, and gasoline by P0.80 per liter effective 6 a.m. on Saturday.
In many instances of price cutbacks, the listed firm of businessman Dennis Uy had for many times jumped the gun on competitors in implementing cost downswings at the pumps.
As of press time, the other oil firms have yet to follow the new price trends set by Phoenix Petroleum, although it is already highly anticipated that its industry rivals will similarly aim for price reductions within that magnitude until Tuesday (October 8).
Next week’s price rollbacks will be most beneficial to the agitated public transport sector.
In last week’s price reductions, the Department of Energy (DOE) expressed its dissatisfaction – that it served show cause orders (SCOs) to the oil companies for them to explain until October 7 (Monday) why the enforced rollbacks had been lower than expected.
Additionally, to appease the exasperated transport sector, Senate Committee on Energy Chairman Sherwin T. Gatchalian nudged the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to complete the distribution of the “fuel subsidies” –primarily to the jeepneys, the typical mode of transport for many Filipino commuters.
But he cautioned that the transport department must be very circumspect so that only “the legitimate franchise holders would be able to get the vouchers on time.”
Had the fuel cards under the Pantawid Pasada Program (PPP) of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act been fully enforced, the jeepney drivers should have been able to expect P5,000 worth of subsidies last year, and that should have accelerated to P20,514 this year – with him citing data from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.
From a surge in prices that reached more than $67 per barrel in September 17, last week’s trading in the international market continued to manifest softening in prices.
The Dubai crude, which is the benchmark for Asian refiners, had plunged to as low as $55.80 per barrel level as of end-week trading, which is even lower than the pre-Saudi attack price level of $58 per barrel.
If the downtrend in global prices is sustained next week, consumers may well expect another round of price rollbacks by mid-month.