BAGUIO CITY, Jan. 24(PIA) – The Department of Energy (DOE) conducted a consultative meeting with the power sector and the downstream oil industry stakeholders on Monday here to look into the persisting issue of high prices of fuel in the city.
DOE Luzon Field Office Director Renante Sevilla said they initiated the meeting with the different sectors in the power industry particularly the dealers to know the real reasons why prices of fuel in Baguio City remain high compared to nearby La Union and Pangasinan.
In the recent fuel prices monitoring, DOE found out that there is again very glaring disparity of fuel prices. Sevilla said that in 2018 following the dialogue with the local government unit with then Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan and the oil retailers and dealers, oil prices dropped for at least P3 to P5, but eventually returned to its original high prices.
In 2017, Baguio City Representative Mark Go initiated talks on the disparity and overpricing of fuel prices in Northern Luzon citing control of the companies in pricing all over the country. He led a congressional inquiry compelling Shell, Petron and Caltex to appear in a bid to shed light on the issue.
Go said there is a prevailing disparity between the pump prices of fuel in the areas of Northern Luzon particularly in the provinces of La Union and Baguio City which is questionable. The average gasoline prices for Northern Luzon area is now P44.00 per liter. In contrast, gasoline prices in Baguio City remain high by as much as P5.00 to P13.00 per liter.
In 2019, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong initiated consultation meetings with the “Big Three” corporations to bring down oil prices that eventually went down by P3.
DOE Usec. Alexander Lopez said the consultation does not dictate what should be done by the dealers but to look into how to have a better and more competitive fuel prices in the city.
Apparently, the fuel prices are dictated by the mother companies particularly the “Big Three.” He said they will coordinate with the top level management of the oil companies to look on how the disparity of prices in Baguio City could be solved at their levels.
There is a need to bring down the prices of fuel prices in Baguio and the DOE led by Sec. Alfonso Cusi is really keen in ensuring consumers of fair and “makatao” prices, Lopez said.
He added that DOE will look into reports of other tourism destinations having higher fuel prices compared to the nearby towns.
JDP/RMC- PIA CAR