Fuel supplier suspends services to Muntinlupa due to city’s P6M debt

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MANILA, Philippines — One of the Muntinlupa government’s two fuel suppliers have suspended their services to the city because of a P6-million debt incurred by the past administration from January to June alone.

The Lamuan Shell Gas Station Inc.-Alabang has “temporarily blocked” the city government’s account on June 20 until the full payment of the P6,178,181 obligation.

A billing statement from the Lamuan station manager sent to the Muntinlupa procurement office last June 22 showed a list of the unpaid fuel withdrawals from Feb. 18 to June 20.

The statement billed the past administration for fuel withdrawals in the period ranging from as low as P1,863 from Feb. 18 to 20, to P1,012,216.79 in only one week — June 11 to 17.

“We cannot finance your fuel requirements any further. Business is not making good lately considering the frequent price movements of fuel and the pending P6-million payment could go a long way to improve our cash flow position,” said station manager Cesar Libunao, in a letter to newly elected mayor Jaime Fresnedi, received on July 22.

Fresnedi, who took office starting July, said the past administration incurred a total of around P15 million in fuel debt in its last six months, which he estimated would cover around 300,000 liters of gas.

A list from the city procurement office, which Fresnedi furnished to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, showed 46 purchase orders from Jan. 13 to June 13 for EMG Shell Corporation, Putatan. One purchase order issued on April 29 listed as much as P956,522.07 worth of gas.

Fresnedi could only shrug and shake his head when asked why the past administration made such large amounts of fuel purchases in its last months. He noted the consumption “was definitely not normal.”

Fresnedi said he was still unfamiliar with the average fuel consumption of the city government or how many vehicles there were, but he noted that 40 liters of fuel, worth around P2,000, seemed already more than enough in a week for a government service vehicle that would not be used daily and would only be used within the city.

For now, “We will ask [the suppliers] to prove the purchased gasoline was used for government vehicles,” Fresnedi said.

Libunao, meanwhile, promised in his letter that their station would resume services to the city government upon the settlement of its debt.

Fresnedi has assured Muntinlupa City residents that the fuel needs of the city government are still being met, since government vehicles could still make fuel withdrawals from EMG, and drivers are simply reimbursed as needed.

The new debt comes in the wake of a still unsettled P136 million obligation to the city’s trash contractor Expedition Corporation, also inherited from the past administration.

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