ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 16 Nov) – If Zamboangueños find Petron’s prices costly, then they should instead buy from independent gas stations.
This was the advice of Ramon Ang, president and chief executive officer of Petron, according to Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco.
“I was advised by Petron President Ramon Ang to patronize the independent suppliers with the goal of promoting competitive prices,” she said.
The mayor has asked Ang to compete and lower local prices in Zamboanga City by at least 10 pesos.
Ang verbally declined this at the House Committee Ways and Means Committee hearing on November 8, where he advised the drivers of jeepneys, taxis, buses and other public utility transports, including tricycles, to buy from the new players.
“They are now 40 percent in the industry,” Ang was quoted as saying.
Local businessman Oliver Ong, who manages two Petron Gas Stations here, said: “It’s a deregulated oil industry. Pump prices reflect world market trends. It’s good that gasoline prices will be rolled back this week.”
Fuel prices are set to be lowered Tuesday nationwide as the city’s COVID-19 status shifts from Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) to General Community Quarantine (GCQ).
The decrease is based on the Mean of Platts Singapore (MOPS), the major price assessment agency for Southeast Asia, which has a trajectory of Value Added Tax Inclusive (VATINC) Price Trend as of November 10, 2021 to an increase of thirty centavos (P0.30) Automotive Diesel Oil (ADO) and a seventy-six-centavo (P0.76) decrease in motor gas (MOGAS).
However, this decrease is not due to the complaints, which were formally raised by the Zamboanga City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc., Ong said.
“As a general rule, MOPS is the basis of weekly price movements. Other factors are the dollar exchange rate and refining, if applicable, distribution and other allied costs,” Ong said.
But a DOE report published in its website said that in Mindanao, fuel prices are highest in Zamboanga City as of Nov. 9.
RON 91 (regular) gasoline, for instance, averages at P66.53 in this city while diesel is at P56.83. In Pagadian City in Zamboanga del Sur, prices are only at P62.23 and P52.60, respectively.
In Davao City, regular gasoline is P59.52 while diesel averages P50.04. In Cagayan de Oro City, prices are at P62.23 and P51.65, respectively.
City Hall first met the local dealers on November 5 with representatives of the Department of Energy (DOE) as part of the series of talks initiated at the request of Mayor Climaco to address high gasoline prices in Zamboanga City.
“The DOE stresses the lack of import terminal in the city or neighboring areas that increase handling costs and freight,” Climaco said.
Rino Abad, director of the DOE’s Oil Industry Management Bureau, said during his meeting with Climaco, business chamber officers, and other City Hall key players that per records of the Mindanao Field Office, there are two fuel depots in the city – one is owned by Petron Corporation in Campo Islam, Lower Calarian, which has the bigger storage capacity as well as the nearest to Zamboanga’s commercial center, and the other by Phoenix Petroleum Philippines in Talisayan.
DOE records likewise reveal that two others function as retail service stations, namely, Minsu Oil Caltex (which has a storage facility) owned by Abduzakur Tan and San Jose Super Shell Station owned by Delfin Saavedra.
Outside the city, the two other depots nearest are quite far: Delta Petroleum Specialist Corporation in Dipolog City, about 315 kms away, and Chevron Philippines, Inc. in Jimenez, Misamis Occidental, 388 kms away.
Abad said that while there are 56 registered retail stations, 11 of these are independent suppliers.
While Petron’s Ang said that these independent suppliers comprise 40 percent of the country’s oil industry, they still make up only 20 percent of the industry in Zamboanga City.
Nilo Geroche, director of the DOE’s Mindanao Field Office, admitted that only 56 of the city’s 80 or so gas stations have been issued with certifications of compliance after deregulation.
The local government and the Philippine Competition Commission are now looking into the fuel market to ensure competition, Climaco said. (Frencie Carreon / MindaNews)