DOE monitoring prices of LPG and other fuel products to ensure consumer protection — Reyes

October 16, 2009 9:48 am 

MANILA, Oct. 16 — The Department of Energy (DOE) has assured the public that they are closely monitoring the prices of petroleum products in the country to ensure that Filipino consumers get fair and just pricing for gasoline, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

“We continue to monitor the oil companies and we will continue with the audit and dialogue with them,” Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes said.

According to the Energy chief, the review of the oil companies’ books had already been conducted by his department and that another review of the oil players’ books is in the offing.

He said that his department intends to conduct regular audits of the oil companies’ books to guard against unjust pricing.

Earlier, the DOE chief explained that setting price ceilings on petroleum products, aside from being against the Oil Deregulation Law, might also force oil players to just abandon the Philippines as a market.

“A price ceiling, especially when it would force businesses to sell at a loss, would be more disadvantageous to consumers because it would naturally result to sellers leaving the market, so there’d be nothing left for consumers to procure,” he said.

In the past weeks, retailers of basic commodities, faced by a government-imposed price ceilings on rice, milk and other canned goods, threatened to just stop selling price-capped goods, unwilling to go bankrupt or to face sanction from government for failing to sell at price levels below their cost of production.

“We cannot resolve a pricing problem that would result to an even bigger problem – that of a threatened supply. We are talking here not only of household users of fuel, but of entire industries, of the future of the entire nation,” he said.

The government is now tightly monitoring the prices of all the basic commodities, including fuel, following the disaster brought about by typhoons "Ondoy" and "Pepeng." (PNA) scs/MSN

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