Sto. Tomas LGU acts on expensive fuel prices

The municipal government of Santo Tomas in Davao del Norte will be seeking the intervention of the Department of Energy  (DOE) to curb skyrocketing prices of fuel in the town.

Santo Tomas Mayor Ernesto Evangelista said in a statement on Tuesday that he has asked for the intervention of DOE in the pricing of fuel products to protect the interest of consumers from the hefty prices imposed by gasoline stations.

“On the alleged expensive fuel prices, we will be seeking the Department of Energy to intervene since the existing fuel prices are expensive when compared to neighboring towns and cities,” Evangelista said. 

Evangelista also warned that gasoline suppliers and players must not take advantage of the economic situation at the expense of the consumers.

On the same day, Municipal Administrator Atty. Elisa Lapina invited the managers and owners of gasoline stations for a conference at the Executive Hall to discuss the pressing issues about the expensive fuel prices. 

The issue stemmed from a public post coming from various netizens, complaining the expensive fuel prices of various gasoline stations in this town.  

Netizens took turns in singling out gasoline stations for their hefty prices. Some of them even hit them out for what appeared to be a “price-fixing” among the gasoline owners. 

In a conference Tuesday, Lapina asked the gasoline owners to lower the fuel price that is fair and comparative to the prices in neighboring towns and cities. 

“What we only ask from all of you is to lower the price or imposing a price that is fair enough to the people of Santo Tomas,” Lapina said. 

She said the expensive fuel price has been a lingering issue and this time, the local chief executive wants that it will be settled once and for all. 

“We will not hesitate to seek DOE’s intervention because under the agency is clothed with powers under the Oil Deregulation law to take affirmative action for the interest of the consumers,” Lapina added. 

Tuesday’s conference was attended by representatives and owners of Shell Gasoline Station, Caltex Gasoline Station, Petron Gasoline Station, Sea Oil and Gas Island Gasoline Station, respectively. 

Lapina said she wanted to known the pricing formula used by these gasoline suppliers and operators including the  computation  and the corresponding explanation and supporting documents on the cause/s or reason/s of the movement of the individual  price adjustments, to include, among others,  the international content, taxes, duties and biofuel cost.

“If they will be hard in giving our simple request for our people, we will no doubt file a complaint with the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) against these companies for alleged price-fixing collusion,” Lapina said. 

She explained that a meeting was called to give importance in addressing the issue beforehand so that the municipal government would have contingency measures to sustain the town’s economic growth while maintaining the basic services to the people.

If the price collusion is proven, those found to have violated the law may be charged or penalized according to Lapina.