By Myrna Velasco
A rollback in the price of diesel and kerosene products will range from P1.80 to P2.00 per liter this week due to the continued steep plunge in oil prices in the world market, according to estimates of oil companies.
For gasoline products, however, the initial calculation of the industry players is a mere P0.10 to P0.30 cut per liter.
The oil companies said the estimates were based on the outcome of four-day trading in the world market, and these could still change depending on price trends as of Friday (April 24) trading.
A further crash in prices has pummeled oil markets as the benchmark WTI crude for the US market tumbled to US$15 per barrel in recent trading days, while Brent crude was at US$21 per barrel, and Dubai crude as pricing reference for the Asian market leveled at US$28 per barrel.
The crash-dive in prices would still not benefit Filipino consumers who are mostly confined in their homes in compliance to quarantine measures which has been extended until May 15 in 14 major areas in Luzon.
Oil consumption in the Philippines had dropped by roughly 60 percent since the Luzon-wide lockdown was implemented on March 17.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) signaled that global oil demand may plunge by a record 9.0 million barrels per day this year, and that figure could “erase almost a decade’s worth of growth.”
As signified by the energy think tank, “April is expected to be the bleakest month for the industry, with demand set to plummet by 29 million barrels a day compared with the same month last year.”
Extended fuel subsidy
Meanwhile, bus units participating in the government’s free ride program for health workers can still avail of free fuel at selected CleanFuel gas stations after the firms extended its fuel subsidy assistance until May 15, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said.
Transportation Assistant Secretary for Road Transport Steve Pastor said CleanFuel will continue to provide a total of 810 liters of fuel daily for 20 buses participating in the Department’s Free Ride for Health Workers Program.
Bus units who want to avail of the fuel subsidy can fill up their tanks at CleanFuel Kamias and Pioneer branches, the DOTr said.
Pastor has commended CleanFuel for its continuous support to the program since it started to implement the subsidy assistance last April 8. The DOTr official said the aid will “greatly help bus operators to continue transport health frontliners to their various medical communities.”
“Taos-puso po ang pasasalamat ni Secretary Arthur Tugade at ng buong DOTr sa CleanFuel. Gaya po ng palaging sinasabi ng ating Kalihim, malaking tulong po ito, hindi lang sa amin, o sa mga bus operators, gayundin sa mga frontliners na aming siniserbisyuhan araw-araw,” he said.
The DOTr also partnered with oil firms Phoenix Petroleum, Petron Corporation, Seaoil Philippines, and Total Philippines for the provision of fuel subsidies to transport companies participating in the free ride program.
As of April 24, the Department already recorded a total ridership of 395,287 since the start of the free bus service on March 18 to ferry frontline health workers to different hospitals and medical facilities after the suspension of all mass transports on March 17, the start of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine. (With a report from Alexandria San Juan)