Palace to oil firms: Justify hikes in prices of petroleum products

June 9, 2009 12:05 pm 

MANILA, June 9 – Malacanang on Tuesday asked oil companies to immediately submit their financial statements and price rates to justify increases in the price of petroleum products.

”Now they're doing it weekly, many of them have inventory supplies for 30 to 60 days, so why are they charging us with the current prices,” said Socio-Economic Planning Secretary and National Economic Development Authority director general Ralph Recto during Tuesday afternoon’s press briefing at the New Executive Building in Malacañang, San Miguel, Manila.

Recto said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has asked the Department of Energy (DoE) to submit the oil firms' financial statements for her initial assessment.

“We will be asking oil companies to submit more data, volume of sales per company, gasoline, diesel, liquefied petroleum gas, cost on importation, how much taxes do they pay, what their true selling rate and all that stuff,” he said.

Recto also said the oil firms did not present any data during a meeting at DoE with Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes, adding that even their (oil companies) websited did not contain "explanation whatsoever."

”We will be writing them. We met with them a week ago, that's fair. But there are a lot of things we need and their documents are incomplete. Those statements do not say much. It’s just plain financial statements,” Recto said.

”We are determining appropriate economic policy. We should have a regulated industry,” Recto also said.

Last May, President Arroyo ordered DoE officials to look into the books of oil distributors following another round of increases in pump prices earlier.

Reports said the President wanted the oil companies to explain to the public the reason behind the price increase in petroleum products and to file appropriate charges against those who failed to explain, Recto said.

The country's oil firms include Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., Chevron Philippines (formerly Caltex Philippines), Flying V and Total Philippines, Seaoil Philippines and PTT.

Prices of light sweet crude for delivery in July went down 56 cents to US $ 68.65 a barrel on Tuesday's morning trade in New York. The price reached US $ 70.32 last Friday, its highest level since Nov. 4. Brent North Sea crude for July delivery advanced 57 cents to .45.

Data indicating that the worst may be over for the recession-battered US economy, the biggest in the world, have been stoking hopes for a rebound from the current global crisis.

Recto said US employment figures released on Friday said the number of job losses slowed to a better-than-expected 345,000 in May. (PNA)

RMA/JCA

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