Rey Anthony H. Chiu
TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, March 30, 2012 (PIA) – Not content with a noted P2.10 rollback on fuel, Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto revved the issue to the Regional Development Council (RDC) in Central Visayas (CV) to officially appeal to fuel companies to bow down to an equitable reduction of prices of petroleum products.
A high fuel price in the region would most certainly strain the economy, drastically reducing people’s purchasing power, choking furl-dependent industries and causing an uncalled for price increase in products and services, explains Chatto during the Consultative Forum on Fuel Prices in regional 7 last week.
Through a joint manifestation, the RDC, through Chairman Governor Chatto successfully orchestrated a region-wide resolution following a joint manifestation for the passage of the urgent appeal to the big three companies during its recent meeting March 26 in Larena, Siquijor.
Chatto said that the gestation of the manifestation began with the conduct of the Regional Oil Price Summit in Bohol on March 23, 2012.
There, the problematic situation regarding the prices of petroleum products in Region VII was exhaustively discussed with National and Regional Officials of the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), concerned government agencies, three oil companies representatives with other stakeholders and consumer groups in the region.
At the forum, fears that the particularly high fuel price was only in the region popped, further alarming consumers who learned that the disparity of prices reached P8.00, when compared to pump prices in Manila and other cities.
Bohol ex-OIC Governor Victor dela Serna then accused Petron, Caltex and Shell of causing Boholanos to subsidize oil companies, stretching his allegations to collusion to predatory pricing.
During the same forum, participants learned Cebu enjoys relatively lower prices of fuel compared to its neighboring three provinces, a thing many ascribe to a suit Cebu filed against the big three companies for unfair trade practices, in relation to the Downstream Oil Deregulation Act of 1998.
Noteworthy was that even as most observers say the forum in Bohol was practically useless as it was not the DOE who calls the shots in reducing prices, a P2.00 reduction in gasoline and P1.50 on diesel per liter was noted.
Governor Chatto on Friday at the Kita u gang Gobernador cited Petron for rolling back its pump prices after the forum.
A few days later, Shell came up with an even bigger rollback at P2.10 for gasoline and P1.50 for diesel, Chatto also said.
But this did not stop Bohol from bringing the issue to the regional council, noting that “we do not stop the noise until the prices are still up”.
The RDC then said even with Cebu apparently enjoying a better fuel purchasing power, the situation strains the rest of the sectors in the region’s wages, and could be taxing to other economic development efforts. (30)