April 2, 2023

Bicol Express News

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3 weeks in a row; Oil companies announce new price adjustments

Photo by Edd Gumban / The Philippine STAR)

As if the unabated prices of basic goods are not enough burden to ordinary Filipinos, oil companies, on Tuesday, January 31, had announced another round of oil price increase.

In separate advisories, oil companies announced an increase on the prices of their oil products.  Gasoline is up by P1.30 per liter, diesel by P1 per liter, and kerosene by P1.35 per liter.

The latest oil price hike is the 3rd increase within the month of January alone.

The price hike is, however, smaller compared to the previous week. Gasoline per liter last week had increased by P2.80, diesel by P2.25, and kerosene by P2.40.

Overall price adjustments now stand at P7.20 per liter for gasoline, P3.05 per liter for diesel, and P4.55 per liter for kerosene.

But according to the US Department of Agriculture, local pump prices might decrease as the government pushes for increasing ethanol blends in gasoline.

Under the Biofuels Act of 2006, all liquid fuels for motors and engines sold in the Philippines must be blended with biofuels. The current blend of ethanol for gasoline is 10%.

Various sectors have continuously called for the suspension of excise tax on oil products under the Train Law and the 12% VAT on oil to mitigate the effects of the oil price hikes.

Farmers’ group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said that scrapping the oil excise taxes under TRAIN will provide immediate relief to Filipinos and help control the rising inflation. Removing the excise tax and VAT on oil KMP added will remove P6 per liter from diesel, P5.35 per liter for unleaded gasoline, and P3 per kilogram of LPG. 

Oil revenue losses can be offset by also suspending the corporate income tax (CIT) cuts under CREATE. Reducing indirect consumption taxes such as on oil and increasing direct taxes on income makes the tax system more progressive. 

KMP said that Filipinos are still reeling from the damaging effects of frequent oil price hikes in 2022. It can be recalled that from January to March last year, oil prices hiked for 11 consecutive weeks. The net year-to-date price increase in 2022 was at ₱14.90/L for gasoline, ₱27.30/L for diesel, and ₱21.30/L for kerosene. 

Meanwhile, progressive lawmakers under the Makabayan Bloc in the House of Representatives filed a bill to create a regulatory body that will regulate changes in the prevailing prices of fuel products. They also filed proposed measures for the unbundling of oil prices, the “renationalization’ or acquisition of Petron’s ownership by the government and  the centralization of oil procurement.