MALACANANG has instructed the Department of Energy (DOE) to ensure that there will be reasonable price hike on petroleum products.

Presidential spokesperson Ricardo Saludo in a press briefing Thursday said the DOE was ordered to keep on monitoring pump prices in the international market and coordinate with oil companies to avoid overpricing.

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Saludo said the government would want to ease the public’s burden in basic commodities especially now that the country is facing El Nino.

“We are monitoring the slight increase in oil prices… We already have a challenge from El Nino, we always try and avoid further difficulties for our people. We asked the DOE to monitor pump prices and meet with oil companies and we hope that they will not overprice and follow the price in the world market.”

The Palace official furthered that they have no fresh instructions to the DOE aside from the monitoring.

“One of the duties of the DOE is to ensure stable supply of oil and affordable prices,” he said.

According to Saludo, the government understands hike in oil prices but they have to be sure that this increase is logical.

“Local oil companies should not take advantage of the oil prices in global market,” he added.

He meanwhile said Malacanang is not yet considering re-imposition of price cap on oil products similar to the aftermath of Typhoon Ondoy that wreaked havoc in the country last year.

Last month, big and small oil companies implemented three price adjustments.

Major oil player Chevron Philippines on Tuesday announced increase on diesel, gasoline, kerosene, and fuel by P0.50 per liter.

Saludo warned about the law penalizing those who will take advantage of oil prices.

Fare increase

Citing the increasing prices of petroleum products, Alliance of Concerned Transport Organization (Acto) on Thursday urged the LTFRB to act on its pending petition for a 50-centavo provisional fare hike.

Efren De Luna, national president of the Acto, said recent price hikes imposed by local oil players made the granting of their petition urgent.

“Wala na pong kinikita ang mga drayber dahil sa patuloy na pagtaas sa presyo ng mga produktong petrolyo kaya napilitan kaming humingi na ng dagdag pasahe,” De Luna said as he appealed for public understanding of their predicament.

According to the transport leader, high pump prices are not their only problem as they have also to contend with the prices of spares parts.

“Di lang ang pagtaas ng krudo ang aming batayan. Andyan din ang iba pang mga gastusin gaya ng pagtaas ng presyo ng spare parts, pagtaas ng multa sa MMDA, LTO, LTFRB at mga LGU. Kaya pag sinuma mo lahat ito wala ng matitira sa amin.”

De Luna explained that they filed the petition August of last year when petroleum prices stood at P26 per liter.

In a succeeding petition, the group asked the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for a P1 fare hike for the first four kilometers.

But Saludo said there is a process in increasing fare that has to be deliberated by the (LTFRB).

On Wednesday, oil players raised anew pump prices. With this development a liter of diesel currently costs P34.55, P44.50 for gasoline and kerosene per liter in the country.

Earlier, LTFRB chairman Alberto Suansing said any fare hike petition will go through the normal process including a public hearing to ensure that the side of all stakeholders is heard.

He said the agency will not be stampeded into granting any petition without undergoing hearing. (Jill Beltran/AH/Sunnex)