Sunday, June 23, 2024

Zamboanga: Mayor Seeks Lower Gas Prices In Zamboanga City

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Mayor Beng Climaco and the Department of Energy (DOE) convened local gasoline station operators and business leaders Friday morning to appeal for the lowering of pump prices in the city to help ease the burden of residents who are hit by “double whammy’ of high gasoline prices and COVID pandemic.

The dialogue was a follow-through of the Nov. 2 meeting between the City Government, DOE and other stakeholders as the city continues to review and find solutions to the high prices of gasoline and diesel in the city.

“Ta apela yo, para puede kita tiene solucion con este alto precio de gasolina, hace lang kita abaja si puede, dale P5.00, we would appreciate it very much,” Mayor Climaco told gas station operators during the virtual meeting. “Whatever sacrifices we can make, and you think that is commensurate to what you will be earning, is highly appreciated.”

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Director Nilo Geroche of the DOE appreciated the efforts of Mayor Climaco and the City Government to gather the major players in the gasoline industry for a meeting to discuss the current fuel prices and the apparent disparity compared to prices of gasoline products sold in adjacent cities and municipalities in Zamboanga Peninsula.

Based on DOE monitoring as of Oct. 18, 2021, gasoline prices in the city range from 62.75 to P68.67/ per liter; diesel prices range from P54.89 to P60.52 while kerosene prices range from P56.03 to P58.77/ per liter.

The DOE official likewise presented a comparison of the industry take for the different cities in Mindanao including Metro Manila with Zamboanga City recording the highest at P12.82 and Dipolog having the lowest at P5.41. Industry take includes the operating costs through the downstream oil industry chain, from domestic import terminals, down to the gasoline stations, plus the profit. The shipping and hauling costs per liter vary depending on the consigned volume.

Geroche hoped that the meeting would result to a “win-win” solution to the issue. As an institution, he said, the DOE as well as the Local Government Unit cannot mandate the industry players to lower the prices “but we are just appealing to your kind indulgence na puede niyo talagang gawin,” according to the DOE official.

More or less 80 gasoline stations are operating all over the city but DOE records show there only 56, an issue that is being looked into by Director Geroche to ensure that all retailers are with DOE certificates of compliance.

Also present during the meeting was Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) representative Atty. Christian de los Santos, who talked about possible interventions in case of exorbitant gasoline prices.

Meanwhile, Mia de los Reyes from the Petron Head Office said the gasoline station operators could not give any answer to the pleas of the DOE and the LGU at the moment stressing, “we are monitoring the market and assessing how best we can proceed.”

Nonetheless, de los Reyes and the representatives from other gasoline stations in the city said they are giving discounts to vaccinated drivers of PUJs and private vehicles to help ease the burden of high prices.

The discounts amount to 3 per liter for gasoline and P2 per liter for diesel.
(Sheila Covarrubias)

(Source: City Government of Zamboanga Facebook page)

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