Oil discount only option for now as price hike continues — DOE exec

Published October 22, 2021, 1:15 PM

by Joseph Pedrajas

Asking oil companies to offer consumers with discount on oil prices is what the Department of Energy (DOE) can only do for now to cushion the effects of the continuous oil price hike, an agency official said Friday, Oct. 22.

(File photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

DOE Assistant Secretary Gerardo Erguiza said that at least five oil companies already “responded positively” to the agency’s request. These are: Jetti, Unioil, Seaoil, Phoenix, and Shell.

“All the others, [they said] they’re studying it,” Erguiza said in an online press conference.

Currently, the DOE is seeking a temporary suspension of excise tax on oil prices to decrease its price by P6 to P10 per liter.

It is also lobbying for the amendment of the Oil Deregulation Law as Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi wants the agency “to be able to set certain limits to protect the public, considering this is a very important commodity.”

But all these can only be done through the amendment of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law by the Congress, which is currently on break.

According to Erguiza, the DOE already wrote a letter to President Duterte to certify as urgent the amendment of the bills concerning oil and oil prices.

Erguiza also bared that the national government, through the Department of Transportation, is already “doing the framework” to allow jeepney drivers to increase their passenger capacity amid the pandemic instead of implementing a fare hike.