The Department of Energy (DOE) has sent inspectors from its field offices to check on the reported surge in fuel prices despite an assurance that there is still enough supply available for areas hit by Typhoon Odette.
Responding to reports that oil prices have reportedly reached Php100/liter in Cebu and Php90/liter in Bohol, DOE-Oil Industry Management Bureau Dir. Rino Abad said the inspections began last Sunday and it will send four more inspectors tomorrow.
The DOE inspectors will be accompanied by personnel from the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
Abad admitted that the inspectors would be facing hurdles.
“The challenge now is for the inspector to be able to really document yung specific stations na gumagawa ng ‘overpricing,’” he told reporters during a briefing on Tuesday.
Abad warned gas stations found to be liable overpricing would face penalties under Republic Act 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines.
The Energy official likewise said that over three weeks worth of oil supply available for the affected areas. He added that the Philippine Coast Guard will be directly assisting downstream oil players with their requests for supply.
Relative to this, Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi issued a memo to oil companies to speed up the delivery of fuel to Siargao Island; Cebu; Bohol; Butuan City; Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte; Guimaras; Negros Occidental; and Negros Oriental.
Abad also reported that a 398 of 602 or 66% of gasoline stations in Cebu, Bohol, and Negros Oriental have reopened, while 88% of those in Eastern Visayas have resumed operations.
While pump prices have increased nationwide, Petron and Caltex have voluntarily suspended its implementation in the Agusan provinces, Aklan, Bohol, Capiz, Cebu, Iloilo, Leyte, Negros, Palawan, Samar, South Cotabato, and the Surigao provinces. Phoenix Petroleum also implemented a price freeze on all its stations in Odette-affected areas.