THE Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in the Cordillera is set to take due action once the hearing on the disparity of oil prices in the Congress is over.

In the weekly Kapihan sa Baguio, BIR-Ilocos Director Douglas Rufino said only value-added taxes and income taxes can be collected from the gasoline dealers in Baguio City and Benguet Province, while the excise taxes being collected from the big three petroleum companies are being collected by their national offices.

"With respect to the prices of gasoline here in the city, we believe the Office of Congressman Marquez Go have initiated an inquiry into the matter. Even us, we are in a quandary on how come the disparity is so high at around P10 compared to the nearest gas station in Sison, Pangasinan. We will await the results of the congressional inquiry but in the meantime, we will continue to collect the value added taxes from these gasoline dealers," said Rufino.

Baguio City Representative Mark Go earlier reiterated his appeal to Petron, Shell and Chevron for the reduction of pump prices in Baguio City for failure of these major oil companies to take action after the third investigation of the committee on energy held December last year.

Charmaine Canilas, Petron vice president for corporate affairs, said the company made P3 reduction in its prices in Baguio City.

"We still find the reduced oil prices insufficient considering that the difference still varies from five pesos to as high as P10. Like in Petron Baguio, as of February 20, diesel per liter is P42.65 while in Rosario, La Union, it is P37.26. The price of XCS unleaded per liter in Baguio is P58.67 and in Rosario, La Union it is P48.70. The disparity is P5.39 for Diesel and P9.97 for XCS unleaded,” Go said.

The lawmaker said the petroleum companies were not able to satisfactorily explain the disparity of prices in Baguio City and Rosario, La Union, but rather resorted to redundant justifications.

"Diesel in Caltex Baguio is priced at P42.60 per liter and P37.68 per liter in Rosario, La, Union. Unleaded platinum is P58.72 per liter in Baguio and P49.10 in Rosario, La Union, having a difference of P4.92 and P9.62, respectively. On the other hand, Shell diesel in Baguio is sold at P42.58 per liter and P37.68 in Rosario, La Union. V-Power gasoline in Baguio is P58.86 per liter, while P49.15 per liter in Rosario, a matter of P4.9 difference in diesel and P9.71 in gasoline,” said Go.

"This is the fourth hearing conducted but still, we are not getting from them any clearer answers on these unreasonable prices. We need a concrete action to address this predicament of the people of Baguio City,” he added.

Assistant Secretary Leonido Pulido of the energy department explained the agency’s action of releasing a department circular that would look into the component of prices to be able to define the reasonability of prices.

Go manifested his interest in the volume of fuel that these oil companies sell in Baguio compared to Rosario, La Union to determine if there exist a competition.

The major oil companies were given until Friday to comply in the submission of data and to take immediate action to reduce the oil prices in Baguio.

"This big disparity in oil prices has been the clamor of my constituents and this continues to burden us. Surely, I will file a measure amending the Oil Deregulation Law authorizing the Department of Energy in setting price ceiling for petroleum products," said Go.