MANILA -- Senator Francis Pangilinan on Wednesday criticized oil companies for raising pump prices even as the country was being battered by Typhoon Juan, saying the move was "bordering on criminal".

“That is insensitive and uncalled for. It's like rubbing salt to our wounds,” Pangilinan said.

He added Pilipinas Shell, Petron Corporation, and Chevron Philippines could have at least waited for the typhoon that is estimated to cost the country more than P1 billion in crop damage to leave the country before raising prices.

The "Big Three" oil companies have raised the price of gasoline by P0.50 per liter and kerosene by P0.25 per liter. Eastern Petroleum, a smaller oil player, has announced that it will also raise prices.

Pangilinan said he is considering legislation to prohibit price hikes during times of calamity “to prevent corporate abuse especially when consumers are at their most vulnerable”. (Jonathan de Santos/Sunnex)