BAGUIO City Lone District Representative Mark Go has formally requested for a price decrease in petrol products in the city, citing significant price differences between the city and other areas in the country, including the capital and its immediate neighbors.
Go has requested for a P6 decrease per liter price reduction in the city’s fuel prices during a House Committee on Energy meeting.
The average price of fuel in the city as of this week hovers from P66 to P67 a liter for diesel, the cheapest petrol product offered in gas stations around the country. For comparison, even in the capital, the price of diesel averages only P62 a liter, while nearby La Union prices are even lower at around P55 a liter for the same product.
Department of Energy (DOE) Oil Industry Management Bureau Director Rino Abad suggested during the hearing that fuel prices in Baguio should be comparable to that of Metro Manila.
Oil companies argue that the disparity is a consequence of Baguio’s higher cost of doing business, lease, trading area, and the increase by independent fuel companies.
“The level of competition in La Union is really more intense than compared to Baguio and further, in Baguio, there are other costs that contribute to the price difference,” Chevron Corporate Affairs Advisor Joel Gaviola explained.
However, even when previously ordered by the DOE years ago to explain what and how much of the operational expenses for the fuel suppliers are passed onto customers, the oil industry refused to comply then, acquiring restraining orders against the DOE price monitoring efforts from Manila courts, claiming that the order would be a violation of the oil industry’s autonomy as a deregulated industry.
In 2021, the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) committed to investigating the high prices for petroleum in Baguio, especially in comparison with neighboring La Union.
Despite the probing from the DOE and the PCC, prices of petrol in Baguio City remain comparatively high compared to its neighbors.