DOE freezes LPG, kerosene prices but rollback allowed

Published March 18, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Myrna M. Velasco

Following Malacanang’s declaration of state of calamity for the entire Philippines, the Department of Energy (DOE) has enforced price freeze on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and kerosene products over a 15-day period that will lapse on March 31.

In a statement to the media, the energy department announced that there will be price freeze “for household LPG and kerosene for 15 days (or from March 17-31, 2020), after President Rodrigo Duterte declared a state of calamity throughout the entire Philippines due to the corona virus disease-2019.”

The DOE qualified though that “during the price freeze, rollback of prices will be implemented, while price increases are strictly prohibited within the 15-day period.”

As of this week, the pick-up price of the standard 11-kilogram LPG for households had been at P609 to P774 per kilogram; and kerosene at P38.73 to P50 per liter.

The energy department similarly indicated that it is resolving the predicament of the oil companies relative the product deliveries being blocked at checkpoints by the Philippine National Police (PNP) — primarily at the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) as communicated to the agency as early as Tuesday (March 17).

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi admitted that “there are delays due to lack of appreciation of some personnel on the field of the guidelines,” but he assured that he already deployed his officials to address the matter.

Cusi indicated that he assigned Energy Assistant Secretary Leonido Pulido III to be on top of the situation; while Assistant Secretary Gerardo Erguiza Jr. personally collaborated with law enforcement agencies at Camp Crame “to coordinate not just SLEX (South Luzon Expressway) but for the ports and provinces.”

The oil firms aired that their products should be fully appreciated in line with the enforced community quarantine – because it is a basic commodity used for ambulances and also for the mode of transport of health workers who are in the frontline of curbing the further proliferation of the coronavirus that had set off the health crisis confronting not just the country but the world.

Based on the guidelines issued by the PNP, the vehicles of the oil firms delivering products to customers and retail facilities shall hang a placard or marker (at a measure of 4’x3’), which will then bear the following information: name of the company plus “Delivery of vital energy services/goods. Kindly do not delay.”

That shall be accompanied by a memorandum from the Energy Secretary and they must show the PNP guidelines, if necessary.

For employees, they are required to show their identification cards that must state place of work/destination; plus the Secretary’s memorandum and the PNP guidelines.

It was further prescribed that starting March 22, all personnel in the energy sector involved in the delivery of products as well as provision of services shall secure their identification cards from the Inter-Agency Task Force.

Industry players have questioned that fact that the DOE was not included in the task force, despite realities that it is supervising two of the most critical industries underpinning the nation and its economy – the oil and power sectors. The energy department said it was granted an “observer” status in the task force.