Davao del Norte town to seek help from DOE on fuel 'price-fixing' issue

By Armando Fenequito 

DAVAO CITY – The municipal government of Santo Tomas in Davao del Norte will be seeking the intervention of the Department of Energy  (DOE) due to alleged expensive fuel price in the town.

Santo Tomas Mayor Ernesto Evangelista said in a statement on Tuesday, they would be seeking the intervention of DOE in the pricing of fuel products to protect the interest of consumers from the hefty prices imposed by some gasoline stations.

“On the alleged expensive fuel prices, we will be seeking the Department of Energy to intervene since the existing fuel prices are expensive when compared to neighboring towns and cities,” Evangelista said.

Evagelista also warned that gasoline suppliers and players must not take advantage of the economic situation at the expense of the consumers.

On the same day, Municipal Administrator Atty. Elisa Lapina invited managers and owners of various gasoline stations for a conference at the Executive Hall to discuss the pressing issues about the expensive fuel prices.

The issue stemmed from a public post coming from various netizens, complaining about the expensive fuel prices of various gasoline stations in this town.

Netizens took turns in singling out gasoline stations for their hefty prices.

In a conference Tuesday, Lapina asked the gasoline owners to lower the fuel price that was fair and comparative to the prices in neighboring towns and cities.

“What we only ask from all of you is to lower the price or imposing a price that is fair enough to the people of Santo Tomas,” Lapina said.

She said the expensive fuel price has been a lingering issue and this time, the local chief executive wants that it will be settled once and for all.

“We will not hesitate to seek DOE’s intervention because under the agency  is clothed with powers under the Oil Deregulation law to take affirmative action for the interest of the consumers,” Lapina added.

Lapina said she wanted to know the pricing formula used by these gasoline suppliers and operators including the computation  and the corresponding explanation and supporting documents on the cause/s or reason/s of the movement of the individual  price adjustments, to include, among others,  the international content, taxes, duties and biofuel cost.

“If they will be hard in giving our simple request for our people, we will no doubt file a complaint with the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) against these companies for alleged price-fixing collusion,” Lapina sai.

She explained that a meeting was called to give importance in addressing the issue beforehand so that the municipal government would have contingency measures to sustain the town’s economic growth while maintaining the basic services to the people.

She said if the price collusion was proven, this violates market competition and the law.