DAVAO CITY – The Department of Energy has expressed concern over gasoline prices in Mindanao which is P3 cheaper compared to other parts of the country.
In a press statement, the DoE said it has asked oil companies in Mindanao to explain the sustained price reductions in gasoline products that may “put the smaller oil players and consumers at a disadvantageous position in the long run.”
The DoE said that reductions in oil prices might have breached provisions under the Oil Deregulation Law.
Based on its monitoring from August 30 to September 6, 2016, the DoE said oil companies in Mindanao implemented a P3 rollback.
“While price rollbacks like this are a welcome development for the consumers, the DoE cautioned that sudden and sustained huge decreases in oil prices might qualify as an “anti-competitive behavior, under the Oil Deregulation Law,” it said.
It explained that the smaller oil “players may actually lose its market share and end up closing, allowing the remaining oil players the chance to dictate prices to the detriment of the consuming public.”
It also raised concerns over the illegal selling of petroleum products in bottles or “bote-bote” and the alleged smuggling of oil products from nearby countries.
The DoE added that its Mindanao Field Office has coordinated with local government units and the Bureau of Fire Protection for a campaign against the selling of gasoline in bottles and is discussing with the Department of Justice the possible formation of a task force to determine violations of the law.
The agency has also coordinated with the Bureau of Customs to stop the smuggling of oil products that may affect not only the oil industry players but also the economy of Mindanao.
“Taxes are lost, affecting the delivery of basic services to our people,” it added. (ANTONIO L. COLINA IV)