Cebu City regulates fuel sale in 'Odette' aftermath

Published December 22, 2021, 12:54 PM

by Philippine News Agency

CEBU CITY – Gasoline stations in this capital city are no longer allowed to gas up into containers following directives from the city government to directly pump fuel to vehicles starting on Wednesday.

This policy came after Mayor Michael Rama discovered by himself that some pick-up trucks joined long queues of cars and motorcycles to purchase fuel to be sold in villages at a very high price.

This issuance also came amid uproars from netizens on overpriced commodities, including fuel, since the first day after Typhoon Odette destroyed power lines which rendered gas stations closed while some relied on generator sets to operate pumping machines.

Rama said he issued a directive to the city police to strictly enforce the “no stopping policy” along major streets and thoroughfares as well as “no queuing beyond gas station premises” to prevent long lines of vehicles obstructing traffic flow and impede rapid clearing of debris from the typhoon.

“It’s observable (that) our city has been in traffic gridlock and the stretch of cars lining up reach a kilometer away from the gasoline station,” he said.

He noted such long queues beyond gas stations impeded the delivery of important services intended for typhoon victims, with emergency response being stuck by traffic jams even in junction boxes and crossings.

The city, he said, could not tolerate slow dispatch of services such as restoration of work for power lines and telecommunications, clearing of falling trees and poles, emergency transport, and garbage collection.

He said restoration work of water supply has also been affected by the traffic jams around gasoline stations,

In a directive issued on Tuesday, Rama said owners resisting or refusing to abide by the new policy will authorize the Cebu City Traffic Office to remove his vehicle blocking the traffic flow with the issuance of a citation ticket.

The directive, however, allowed queuing at gasoline stations beyond 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. of the following day.

To fast-track the fueling process, he ordered gas stations to pump fuel to only up to 20 liters per vehicle. “This rationing shall not apply to the essential government and pubic service utility vehicles,” he clarified.

He also ordered gas stations to provide an express lane for essential government and public service utility vehicles.

In a bid to impose frugal utilization of fuel to city residents, the mayor advised a “rationalized and planned” travel and avoid unnecessary trips during the period of emergency.