ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Philippines may freeze oil prices
“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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