By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Win Gatchalian urged the Department of Energy (DOE) to intensify its monitoring activities against profiteers taking advantage of consumers by imposing exorbitant pump prices of fuel products amid the escalation of the cost of fuels in the world and domestic markets.
“The DOE should make sure that oil companies and retailers are not abusing the situation. Huwag nating hayaang may magsamantala na lalong magpapahirap sa ating mga kababayan,” the re-electionist senator said.
The Senate Energy Committee Chairperson made the call as the price of diesel is expected to jack up this week by as much as P11.80 to P12 per liter, gasoline by P6.90 to P7.20 per liter, and kerosene by P9.70 to P9.80 per liter.
Considering that oil refiners are required to have reserves that can last for 30 days, Gatchalian said these old inventories should be sold to the public at the old prices, lessening the impact of the series of oil price increases on the acquisition of new stock.
“I’m proposing to increase the 30-day minimum oil inventory to 45 days, that’s an extra 15 days of the buffer. The government should subsidize the carrying cost because when these companies buy another 15 days, they have to pay for interest. And that’s where the government comes in terms of energy security,” he explained.
Gatchalian also called on the DOE to exercise its mandate insofar as going after those engaged in profiteering activities by moving for the investigation and eventual prosecution of abusive retailers as well as revocation of licenses if warranted.
The senator also recommended to the DOE the setting up of active hotlines to enable consumers to immediately report those imposing unreasonable price increases and deploy those in the field offices to verify the information on the ground.
“Kung aktibo ang ating pamahalaan sa pagbabantay laban sa mga mapanlinlang at mapang-abusong negosyante, maiiwasan ang pagsasamantala sa publiko sa panahon ng krisis,” Gatchalian said. (ai/mtvn)