MANILA, Philippines — Senator Imee Marcos on Monday called on the Department of Energy (DOE) and the country’s three largest oil companies to suspend oil price hikes set for Tuesday.
Instead of another price increases, Marcos pressed for an “oil price freeze” as the country is still reeling from financial difficulties due to the COVID-10 pandemic and the recent calamities.
“Where is your conscience at a time when people are crying out for help?” asked Marcos, head of the committee on economic affairs in the Senate, in a statement.
The senator issued the call, citing the reported plan of three giant oil firms—Shell, Caltex, and Petron— to raise per liter prices by P1.10 to P1.20 for gasoline, P1.50 to P1.60 for diesel, and P1.30 to P1.40 for kerosene.
She also mentioned the DOE’s decision to grant the oil price increases supposedly because global market prices had spiked on positive news that a COVID-19 vaccine could soon be available.
But Marcos argued that “crude oil prices were nowhere near their levels before the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.”
“The Big Three oil companies seem to owe us a discount. Since January, they have lowered diesel prices by less than 40%, even when Middle East crude prices went down by more than 82%,” she pointed out.
Besides, Marcos said the price of WTI crude, one of the main global oil benchmarks, even plunged into negative territory in April.
The OPEC basket benchmark price stood at $70.87 per barrel in early January, plunged to $12.41 in late April, and increased to $41.18 by November 10, she further noted.
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