CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/02 May)—For the second time, dealers of petroleum products of the so-called “big three” and other companies snubbed the City Council’s invitation to appear at its session.
“Big three” refers to Petron, Shell and Caltex.
Presiding pro tempore, City Councilor Ramon Tabor said they invited representatives from petroleum dealers in the city to shed light on the special report of City Councilor Edgar Cabanlas a month ago that fuel prices in Cagayan de Oro were much higher than in other cities.
In his special report to the Council, Cabanlas questioned the difference in the pump prices that he said amounted to as much P3.60 per liter.
“We have sent invitations to all the dealers here in the city. We even sent the invitations as early as the middle part of April to ensure they could appear here at the City Council,” Tabor told his colleagues.
At the Council session Wednesday, only one—Seaoil—of the six invited dealers appeared. Petron, Chevron, Caltex, Shell, Jetti and Phoenix failed to send their representatives.
The companies did not inform the Council why they could not appear, Raul Moldez, City Council staff said when Cabanlas asked if the companies even bothered to explain their non-appearance.
“We have files of the invitations duly received by the companies but we have not received any communication from them why they could not attend today,” said Moldez.
“This is an insult. Do they think us an irrelevant body in the city that they can just snub without giving at least a short explanation why they cannot send a representative?” a visibly irked Cabanlas said to his colleagues.
Joel Orsillada of Seaoil told the city councilors that the reason for the discrepancy in pump prices is primarily the distance between their pumping stations and depots.
“Our depots are in Davao and Dipolog. We have to cover the freight costs,” Orsillada said.
Seaoil has three company-owned but dealer-run stations in the city, in Barangays Bulua and Canitoan and in J.R. Borja Street.
However, when City Councilor President Elipe asked if the pump prices were based on their operational costs (e.g. freight) or market forces, Orsillada replied that they also factored in the current local pricing “to avoid conflict in the area.” (Cong Corrales/MindaNews)