Press Release
October 21, 2010

DOE called in to conduct "greed check" on latest oil price hike

Sen. Ralph G. Recto today called on the Department of Energy (DOE) to do a "greed check" on oil companies to determine if their latest price increase was justified or not.

"The DOE has promised us of a close and stronger monitoring of the price increases by oil companies. We are now calling in that promise," Recto, Senate ways and means chair, said.

Recto nevertheless lamented that the latest price hike of 50 centavos per liter effected by oil companies came at the height of typhoon Juan.

"Sorry, but I view this as the most foul and insensitive move of the oil firms so far," he said.

"While roofs and farm crops are being ripped off by Juan's ferocious wind, our benevolent oil players just decided to delight us with their own ripping off," the senator said.

Recto now wonders what the oil players will do if a major earthquake or tsunami accidentally hit the country.

"If the value of the onslaught of typhoon Juan is an instant trigger of 50 centavos increase per liter, the corresponding value for a major, major catastrophe would surely be horrendous," he said.

The senator said the DOE did not even bother to call the attention of the oil companies on the bad timing of the price increase.

"They (DOE) should come out and say whether the price is correct or not, because they know the right computation, especially now that the public is very sensitive due to recent typhoon devastation," Recto, who is also vice-chair of the Senate finance committee, said.

He added: "In the last budget hearing, the DOE secretary promised that they will strengthen the DOE-DOJ task force. We must hear more from the DOE everytime there is price increase in oil products."

Recto said if the reason for the latest increase is higher international prices, there should also be an off-setting impact of the continuous appreciation of the peso, which is now trading at P43.375 to the dollar.

Oil companies increased anew its pump prices by 50 centavos per liter early this week, citing higher global oil prices as typhoon Juan battered the rest of Northern Luzon.

Early this month, the oil players increased its prices by P1.25 per liter.

Since February 2009, pump prices of unleaded gasoline have increased by P11.75 to P43.75 from P32 per liter early last year or a price expansion of about 36.7 percent.

As of October 12, the retail price of the high-octane premium gasoline has nearly breached the P50 per liter level.

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