MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) will look into factors that contribute to the disparity of fuel prices in Baguio City and La Union, one of its officials told the House committee on energy on Wednesday.
In a Senate hearing on various bills seeking to promote fair trade in the oil industry, Marikina City 2nd District Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo asked Atty. Krystal Uy, director of the PCC’s Mergers and Acquisitions Office, if the agency could look into factors that contribute to the differences in oil prices in Baguio City and La Union. Quimbo said the disparity of oil prices between the two areas has been going on for so long.
“We understand that we are being requested to check, so we will do that, and we will report to the committee the results of our fact-finding,” Uy said in response.
“Considering that ngayon wala masyadong (there are not much) tourists, so perhaps this is the best natural experiment moment that we can take a look at this,” she added.
According to Uy, the PCC has also commissioned a market study on the downstream petroleum industry. She said the PCC is in the process of finalizing the study through public consultations.
But as for Baguio City, Uy said a possibly smaller fuel market in the city is influencing the oil prices in the summer capital.
“It might be the case that the fuel market for Baguio is smaller and there are also fewer retail stations relative to its neighbors,” she explained.
“Also one factor that was identified is the lack of storage facilities, so the lack of storage facilities in a particular area will have an effect on how the gasoline stations would price their inventories assuming there are increases in prices, and also the possibility that there is less price sensitivity for consumers in that market could also play a role in driving prices up,” she added.
In 2020, it was reported that Baguio pump prices
are at least P6 to P9 higher than those in some areas like La Union and Pangasinan provinces.