ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Philippines wants to monitor oil companies
The Philippine Department of Energy is asking Congress for more teeth in monitoring oil companies’ price adjustments amid the unabated rise in fuel prices.
In an admission the agency was powerless to pursue profiteers, Undersecretary Jose Layug told reporters that the department submitted its recommendations to Congress on how the government could improve its role as the public’s oil price watchdog.
Under the Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act of 1998, or Republic Act 8479, oil companies are required only to inform the DOE of any price movements a few hours ahead of implementation.
Amid criticism that oil firms’ were profiteering from their price movements, the DOE had required them to also submit importation, inventory and other reportorial requirements.
Layug, however, said the DOE needs more administrative powers in monitoring and sanctioning erring oil firms because at present “we have to go to courts and it takes a while to be able to get a ruling from any court.”
Malacañang earlier formed a task force composed of the DOE and the Departments of Justice and of Transportation Communication to study pump price movements and the Oil Deregulation Law.
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