Senator Win Gatchalian is urging the Department of Energy (DOE) to further extend the price freeze on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and kerosene products until the state of national emergency has been totally lifted to ease the financial burden of the already cash-strapped Filipinos.
Gatchalian has made the call after oil companies raised the price of LPG by more than P5 per kilogram on May 1. The price adjustment translates to a price increase of P56.98 up to P 63.80 for a standard 11-kilogram LPG cylinder in the market. Authorities say the higher cost of LPG products reflects the movement in the international contract price of LPG in May.
Given the slow progress of the country’s resolution on the health crisis situation, Gatchalian suggests that the DOE extend the price freeze up until June 30, 2020 in order to help Filipinos juggle their day-to-day finances smoothly.
“Sa ganitong panahon ng krisis, ang 50 o 60 pesos ay malaking tulong na lalo na sa mga pamilyang nasa mahihirap na komunidad. Pwede na itong ipambili ng isang kilo ng bigas o kaya ay hanggang tatlong piraso ng delata,” says Gatchalian.
“Having to contend with accumulated utility bills, implementing a price freeze throughout the duration of the quarantine period will go a long way in easing the financial burden of many of our kababayan, especially for those “no work, no pay” Filipinos. The Department of Energy must recommend extending the price freeze on household LPG and kerosene as soon as possible,” he adds.
In March, Gatchalian had a similar call to the DOE to extend the price freeze on LPG and kerosene products, citing DOE Department Circular 2016-08-0013 that the prices of LPG and kerosene will become normal after a 15-day price freeze, unless a mandated price freeze is imposed by the President, upon the recommendation of the DOE. The price freeze on such products has been extended until April.
According to the 2011 Household Energy Consumption Survey, 41.2% of the almost 21 million Filipino households relied on LPG for their basic needs, such as cooking, water heating, and lighting needs, and 34.3% depended on kerosene.
The DOE has reported that in the commercial sector, LPG consumption rose at a rapid pace of 10.4% annually from 2007 to 2017.
Aside from calling for a price freeze extension, Gatchalian reiterates his call for vigilance against unscrupulous traders who will take advantage of the crisis. He urges the public to immediately report pricing abuses to the DOE.