No price hike this week –DOE

March 15, 2012 9:21 am 

MANILA, March 14 — The Department of Energy (DOE) said no oil price increase will take place this week even as it hinted that there may be a rollback in gasoline and kerosene prices due a decline of prices in the international market.

DOE Director Zenaida Monzada said oil companies, including the so-called “Big 3” (Shell, Chevron and Petron) have made the assurances to the department that they will not increase pump prices this week.

“Nag-commit na sila (oil companies) sa amin na hindi sila magtataas ng mga presyo ng gasoline at diesel ngayong lingo (They were committed not to hike their prices in gasoline and diesel this week),” Monzada said on Tuesday after the TRASMA (Task Force on Transport Strike and Mass Action) meeting held in MMDA office in Makati City.

Transport groups have been urging the government, particularly the Energy department to address the spiraling oil prices,adding that if the present trends continue, then they have no other recourse but to stage strikes and other mass actions.

They have also petitioned the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for a fare increase, while a taxi operators group have also asked for a P10 increase in the current P40 flag-down rate.

Apparently seeking to mollify their criticism, Monzada said they are expecting a price rollback as it said market prices overseas softened last week amid expectations that China’s slower growth could dampen demand for fuel.

“We’re expecting a rollback for regular gasoline and kerosene but not for premium gasoline and diesel,” the official said.

At the same time, Monzada clarified reports attributed to her saying that pump prices in the local market could go as high as P60 per liter (the same price as in 2008 when it was it its highest level).

“Posible siyang mangyari (It might happen) but definitely not this week,” she said adding that the continuing tension in the Middle East, particularly between the United States and Israel and Iran is fueling the rise in fuel prices.

The United States and Iran are locked in a tense stand-off over the latter’s nuclear program. The United States and its allies, particularly the European Union (EU) claimed Iran is bent on producing nuclear weapons, a charge Iran vehemently denies,saying that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

But Iran threatened to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz to shipping, including oil tankers, if the United States and Israel attacked. (PNA)

RSV/CLTC

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