Train prompts 48 gas sta­tions to raise prices

Sun.Star Cebu - - FRONT PAGE -

Only 48 of the 1,759 gas sta­tions in the Visayas had im­ple­mented the ad­di­tional ex­cise tax on prices of petroleum prod­ucts un­der the sec­ond tranche of the Tax Re­form for Ac­cel­er­a­tion and In­clu­sion (Train) Law, as of Mon­day, Jan. 14.

Nine­teen were based in Cebu, 19 in Bo­hol, seven in Ne­gros Ori­en­tal and three in other ar­eas in the Visayas.

The ad­di­tional ex­cise tax was P2 per liter on diesel and gaso­line, P1 per liter on kerosene and P1 per kilo­gram on liq­ue­fied petroleum gas.

Jose Rey Maleza, chief of the Depart­ment of En­ergy (DOE) Visayas’ En­ergy In­dus­try Man­age­ment Di­vi­sion, said the 48 gas sta­tions had in­formed them that their old buf- fer stock had run out.

Of that num­ber, seven were part of the 444 gas sta­tions na­tion­wide that had told the DOE’s Oil In­dus­try Man­age­ment Bureau that they al­ready im­ple­mented the ad­di­tional ex­cise tax.

Show-cause or­der

Maleza said they were val­i­dat­ing the doc­u­ments of the seven gas sta­tions in the Visayas and in­spect­ing their fa­cil­i­ties.

“We sent them a show-cause or­der so they could ex­plain and pro­vide ev­i­dence. This was to en­sure that doubts on their early im­ple­men­ta­tion would be elim­i­nated,” he told Superbalita Cebu on Mon­day. “We want to make sure that those who im­posed the ad­di­tional ex­cise tax had done so jus­ti­fi­ably, and not be­cause there was al­ready the sec­ond tranche,” he said.

If a gas sta­tion raised its prices with­out proof of a new de­liv­ery, the DOE would is­sue a show­cause or­der. If found guilty, the gas sta­tion would ei­ther be fined or charged in court.

The 48 gas sta­tions in the Visayas were from the four big petroleum com­pa­nies: Petron, Shell, Cal­tex and Fly­ing V.

Maleza said the smaller, in­de­pen­dent petroleum play­ers had yet to im­ple­ment the ad­di­tional ex­cise tax.

He ad­mit­ted that they could not in­spect all gas sta­tions, es­pe­cially those based in the prov­inces.

“We’re talk­ing about the whole of Visayas. We can­not cover every­thing. That’s why we’re ask­ing other agen­cies to help mon­i­tor the price in­creases, es­pe­cially if there are com­plaints, so we can im­me­di­ately iden­tify the sub­ject of the com­plaint and in­ves­ti­gate,” he said in Ce­buano.

Call for trans­parency

DOE Visayas Di­rec­tor Saul Gon­za­les, in a sep­a­rate in­ter­view, said the gas sta­tions that had al­ready im­ple­mented the ad­di­tional ex­cise tax should be trans­par­ent by plac­ing tar­pau­lins in their premises to in­form cus­tomers of changes in prices due to the Train Law.

Gon­za­les also said they would field per­son­nel to in­spect gas sta­tions to see to it that they fol­lowed the law.

The sec­ond tranche took ef­fect on Jan. 1 yet, but DOE Sec­re­tary Al­fonso Cusi wanted to get rid of the oil in­ven­tory from 2018 first.

Cusi had said most oil com­pa­nies had an oil in­ven­tory equiv­a­lent to 15 days. That was why the agency es­ti­mated that the sup­ply would be ex­hausted by Jan. 15 and the oil com­pa­nies would start rais­ing prices.

“We have to make sure that no un­scrupu­lous busi­ness­men will take ad­van­tage of the in­crease in ex­cise tax,” Gon­za­les said.

Of the 1,759 gas sta­tions in the Visayas, 682 are in Cen­tral Visayas with 424 lo­cated in Cebu.

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