Opposition solon demands transparency in oil pricing amid planned ‘big time’ hike

Published February 14, 2021, 4:05 PM

by Ben Rosario

House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate on Sunday, February 14, dared  oil companies to withdraw their opposition to the unbundling of their prices amid reports that they will implement a “big time” hike in oil products.

(MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

In a press statement, Zarate said there is a need for the public to be informed about the pricing scheme of oil firms in the spirit of transparency and fair play.

“In the midst of this crisis gravely affecting our people, especially the poor, we strongly urge the Department of Energy (DOE) to be more pro-active in pushing for ways to lighten their burden, including pushing for the immediate resolution of  the unbundling of oil  prices,” said Zarate. 

Based on reports oil companies will hike diesel prices by  P1.20-P1.30/L, gasoline P0.75-P0.85/L and kerosene P1.10-P1.20/L.

“The big time oil price hike again brings to the fore the issue of possible  overpricing by oil companies.  This also shows the need to unbundle or detail their price of fuel per liter,” the opposition solon stressed.

“Noong 2019 sabi ng DOE kulang ang roll back ng oil companies ng 16 centavos per liter ng diesel at 24 centavos per liter ng gasoline. (In 2019, the DOE declared as inadequate the roll back of P0.16 centavos per liter of diesel and P0.24 centavos per liter of gasoline made by oil companies),” he said. 

Zarate pointed out that oil companies impose excessive cost of their products every time they implement a price hike but minimal reductions are carried out each time they announce  price rollbacks.

The senior opposition solon said the DOE should now order the unbundling of prices of oil products in order for the public to determine  if oil companies are engaged in overpricing or not.

“Except for the international price of oil, nobody knows the actual expenses of oil companies in selling fuel such as refining cost, storage, transportation, salaries and advertising cost. The oil companies must inform DOE and the public of this actual cost, so that we will know if they are overpricing or not.” said the progressive solon

He also reminded the DoE that under Republic Act 8479, it has the power to demand the submission of reports from oil firms.

“DOE should impose penalties against oil companies who will not submit their unbundled prices and institute criminal proceedings against them under Section 12 of the oil deregulation law. If the DOE will not take action we will file a complaint against these oil companies under RA 8479 which allows public to file complaints for overpricing,” added Zarate.

“We are also calling on the House leadership to again set a hearing for House Resolution No. 9 to investigate oil pricing schemes of oil companies,” the Makabayan bloc member said.

 
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