By: Gail T. Momblan
THE Department of Energy (DOE) said that “geo-political situations” are responsible for the increase in oil prices.
After the latest round of oil price hike on Oct 8, 2018, DOE Undersecretary Felix William Fuentabella said they could not predict the movement in prices in the succeeding weeks.
“Mahirap mag-project kung ano ang mangyayari sa presyo kasi ang may kaya noon ay sobrang yaman na pero hindi siya masyadong maganda yung geo-political situation,” Fuentabella said.
Fuentabella referred to the political and economic instability of Venezuela, the largest oil exporters in the West, and the continuing tension between America and Iran.
“The OPEC and non-OPEC countries are talking to each other on how to boost their supply,” he said.
Aside from the global situation, the foreign exchange rates and the supply-demand relationship also contributed to the increase in prices of petroleum products.
The ninth week of successive oil price hike increased prices of gasoline by P1 per liter and diesel by P1.45.
With the second tranche of Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN), the prices are set to increase by P2.24 per liter of gasoline and diesel.
“Kung umabot siya ng average sa last three months na 80 dollars per barrel, is masuspend ang second tranche. Nandoon sa batas,” Fuentabella said.
The DOE said they are taking steps in order to minimize oil price hike’s impact on consumers.
“Unang ginawa ng DOE, ni Secretary Cusi, kinausap ang mga oil companies para mabigyan ng diskwento sa public utility vehicles,” he said.
Although not the main implementer of the Pantawid Pasada Program, the DOE fulfils its role of ensuring that gasoline stations that will acknowledge the Pantawid Pasada Card, Assistant Diretor Rodela Romero of the Oil Industry Management Bureau said.
“Based doon sa last report ng LTFRB, ang tinarget nila is around 117 or 119,000 beneficiaries and out of that, nung mga end ng Sept, mga 30% of that number ang nabigyan na,” she said.
In Western Visayas, 5,316 Pantawid Pasada Cards are available in Iloilo; 3,884 for Negros, 541 for Roxas City; 497 for Kalibo; and 431 for Antique, based on LTFB’s official website.
The DOE said it received suggestions regarding the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pasada Program.
Romero said they endorse the suggestions to the lead agencies, the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and Department of Transportation (DOTr).
She also noted that there will be an increase of fuel subsidy to public utility vehicles (PUVs) next year.
“Yung sinasabing increase from 5,000 this year, magiging P1.70-plus per month this year. So malaki-laking tulong,” Romero said.