Fuel prices in Negros still high by P5 per liter-A A +A
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
THE Visayan Oil Price watchdog had initially agreed that the Department of Energy (DOE) secretary should exercise his authority to investigate oil companies in the country, to find out why its prices in Negros Occidental are higher compared to other provinces, especially in Metro Manila.
Representative Alfredo Benitez (3rd district, Negros Occidental) said delegates of multi-sectoral groups held an informal meeting Monday and their initial findings is to invoke Section 12 of Republic Act 8479, or the Oil Deregulation Law, that allows DOE secretary to investigate oil firms.
As of September, fuels prices in the province are still high by P5 per liter compared to the prices in Metro Manila.
Among those who attended the meeting were representatives from the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Energy from Metro Manila; members from the Office of the Governor, Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Confederation of Sugar Producers Association, Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and major transport organizations in the province.
"We agreed that this will be an informal group. It was just a gathering of sectoral representatives to find out on why we have high disparity of oil prices and find possible solution and answer," Benitez said.
He also echoed the sentiments of the representatives from Manila that the price mechanism investigating the oil companies in the different parts of the country are not being looked into.
Benitez said the filing of the case against the oil firms was not discussed during the meeting.
He also clarified that the watchdog's objective is not to punish, not to penalize, or order the oil companies to reduce their pricing. Their mandate is to find out why there is such a big disparity. And one thing we see is that the DOE have not asked the oil companies about it.
So on the provision of the law, the DOE secretary has the power to investigate and find out why, Benitez added.
The watchdog, Benitez said, will also call the oil companies to explain the disparity.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on October 01, 2013.