The government is not pleased with the latest round of price increase of petroleum products during the coronavirus pandemic but appeared helpless in preventing the spike.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque acknowledged that oil prices are driven by world market forces that are supposedly beyond the government’s control. The country, he added, has an existing law that liberalized and deregulated the oil industry in a bid to ensure a competitive market.
“Nakakalungkot po talaga iyan na tataas ang presyo ng petrolyo sa panahon ng pandemya. Pero mayroon na po tayong polisiya na liberalize po natin ang presyo ng mga petrolyo dito sa Pilipinas at sumusunod po tayo sa market prices ng petrolyo (It is sad that petroleum prices are rising during the pandemic. But we have a policy that liberalized the oil prices in the Philippines and we are following the market prices of petroleum products),” he said during a televised press briefing Monday, June 21.
Roque said the government used to subsidize oil price hikes but the funds came from taxpayers even if their gas consumption was different. Things changed under the oil deregulation law.
“Under a liberalized scheme po ngayon eh talagang susunod po tayo sa market forces (Under a liberalized scheme, we really now follow the market forces),” he pointed out.
“Pero mayroon naman po tayong hakbang na ginagawa katulad ng energy conservation measures at saka pagsisiguro rin po na may basehan po iyong actual presyo na sinisingil dito ng mga gas stations (But we have taken steps such energy conservation measures and making sure the prices demanded by gas stations have reasonable basis),” he added.
Some gas companies are expected to raise prices of petroleum products on June 22 as global prices continued to climb. The price of gasoline will reportedly increase by P0.75 per liter while diesel by P0.70 per liter.