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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        21  April 2011

Philippines may freeze oil prices

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The government may resort to an “extreme legal measure” to cushion the effects of steadily rising oil prices – the issuance of an executive order banning further hikes, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said yesterday.

“Talking about possibilities, there’s always such a possibility of coming up with an executive order freezing the oil prices. If it comes to that, it will basically and primarily be an executive decision or action,” De Lima said.

She said the previous Arroyo administration had resorted to freezing oil price increases in 2009, through Executive Order 839.

De Lima said such a measure would be “legally feasible.”

The DOJ, under the oil deregulation law, has the mandate to ensure that oil price adjustments are reasonable. The Department of Energy (DOE) has the same mandate and performs its task hand in hand with the DOJ.

De Lima’s warning came after the DOE demanded an explanation from oil firms for their price hikes last Tuesday – the 13th this year – after discovering that the last increases were above the agency’s prescribed adjustments based on a similar formula used by local firms. The oil firms have claimed that rising global crude prices prompted them to raise pump prices.

“For now, there is a presumption of regularity or correctness of the successive increases,” De Lima said.

Shell, Chevron and Total announced hikes in the prices of regular gasoline by 70 centavos per liter, unleaded gasoline, 60 centavos; diesel, 25 centavos; and kerosene, 40 centavos, effective 6 a.m. Tuesday. The DOE said the price hikes should have only been P0.16 per liter for diesel and P0.39 for gasoline.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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