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December 9, 2020
LKI PRESS STATEMENT 2020-077
CONSUMER GROUP ASKED DOE WHY PRICE FREEZE ON KEROSENE AND LPG VIOLATED
Consumer advocacy group Laban Konsyumer Inc. (LKI) filed an electronic message to the Department of Energy (DOE) dated DECEMBER 2 , 2020 and addressed to USEC William FUENTEBELLA and charging violation of the price freeze on kerosene and LPG by oil companies during the effectivity of the state of calamity .
Please be informed that based on news reports as well as the DOE website, the oil companies selling kerosene implemented an increase of Php 0.30 per liter in November 24 , 2020. For December 1, 2020 we observed that Petron and Seaoil implemented an increase in kerosene of Php 1.10 per liter , or a total of Php 1.40 per liter overpricing in kerosene , the complaint stated .
Atty. Vic Dimagiba added “Likewise for LPG we observed that Petron implemented an increase of Php 0.96 per kg for HH lpg and Php 0.54 for auto LPG.
Upon investigation and finding of violation of Presidential Proclamation 1051, we pray that appropriate fines be imposed on the errant oil companies and rollback the prices of kerosene and LPG for such number of days of violation.
The state of calamity tool effect Nov 18 and thus the Nov 24 and Dec 1 increases are frozen. No reply yet from the DOE but the electronic message shows as delivered and seen.
Related to the subject matter of fuel pricing, Laban Konsyumer submitted to Congress their recommendation on House Bills 7928 on amendments of the Oil Deregulation Law, as follows:
1. The powers and functions of the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) Task Force should be transferred to the Philippine Competition Commission or PCC. The proposal promotes an inquiry independent from the regulator of the oil industry, the DOE. The proposal will ensure the impartiality of the DOJ. When a criminal case is in order, the PCC will endorse the case to the Department of Justice for preliminary investigation.
2. The DOE issued in 2019 Department Circular 2019-05 providing Guidelines in the monitoring of the sale of petroleum products in the retail market. The said Guidelines provided for the “unbundling of the price of fuels” and provided criteria and standards for compliance. The Circular was the product of many hearings in the Committee to promote transparency in the oil retail market. The DOE Circular was challenged and enjoined by the judicial courts as a violation of the prevailing deregulation of the oil industry as it will unduly pierced into trade secrets of the oil companies. The Committee may consider in the proposed amendments of the Oil Deregulation Law the adoption of the DOE Circular on unbundling of prices of petroleum products.
3. Power and water rates are still regulated industries. The retail of oil prices used to be a regulated industry. The consumer group said “we propose that the Committee revisit the regulation of the oil industry and study the merit and demerit of regulation under the present situation and circumstances. I recall there were many such statements in the Committee in the past as a remedial measure to ensure consumers pay only the reasonable price.
4. We also propose to increase the cooling off period of public officials in the oil industry who retires or resign from seeking employment in the oil industry for a longer period of three ( 3) from date of separation from the government. The current law prescribe one (1) year.