With successive oil price hikes, Bayan Muna presses Cusi to focus on work, get out of politics
MANILA, Philippines — Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi must focus on his work and not party politics, after successive oil price hikes hit the transportation sector, according to Bayan Muna party-list.
According to Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, gasoline fuel prices have risen by as much as P3.25 per liter from June 1, and by P2.70 per liter for diesel fuel and P2.55 per liter for kerosene during the same period — which calls for Cusi and the Department of Energy (DOE) to act quickly.
“In the midst of this crisis aggravated by the Covid pandemic gravely affecting our people, especially the poor, we strongly urge the [DOE] to be more pro-active in pushing for ways to lighten their burden, including pushing for the immediate resolution of the case related to the unbundling of oil prices,” Zarate said in a statement.
“Wag na munang puro pulitika ang inaasikaso ni DOE Sec. Alfonso Cusi; dapat syang agarang kumilos para makita ang tunay na presyo ng langis at mapababa ito,” he added.
Zarate did not mention what Cusi has been doing politically, but the Energy Secretary is also the vice chairperson of ruling political party PDP-Laban that includes President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Manny Pacquiao.
Pacquiao and Duterte have reached a crossroads lately, with the senator claiming corruption has remained a major issue. In response, the President dared Pacquiao to name any agencies riddled with corruption – a challenge the Senator accepted, bushwhacking the Department of Health for instance.
READ: Duterte to Pacquiao: Name corrupt agencies or I’ll campaign against you
READ: Pacquiao accepts Duterte dare, names Duque-led DOH
Cusi got caught up in the controversy when he gave Pacquiao the proverbial “leave” before burning his own house – an apparent message to say to the senator that he should leave the party.
On the same day, Cusi said that Duterte was not consulted on Pacquiao’s ascent to presidential status in the PDP-Laban. Currently, Duterte serves as party chairperson.
INQUIRER.net has sought the side of Cusi about the issue, but he has yet to reply as of posting time.
READ: After Duterte’s tirade, Cusi tells Pacquiao: Leave first before you burn your house down
READ: Duterte unaware, not consulted on Pacquiao taking over PDP-Laban presidency
Zarate said that Cusi and DOE have a pressing concern about the rise of oil prices. Prices for gasoline have risen by P11.75 per liter, diesel by P9.90, and kerosene by P8.41 since the start of the year.
The lawmaker also said the high prices reflect the need for oil price transparency and unbundling — a process where details of oil prices and increases are itemized so that the public would see details about it.
Bayan Muna has pushed for the unbundling of oil prices on numerous occasions already, amid their fears that oil companies are allegedly taking advantage of certain situations like the Saudi oil site attack in September 2019.
READ: Bayan Muna wants oil price data unbundled amid Saudi oil sites attack
“The big time oil price hike again brings to the fore the issue of possible overpricing by oil companies. This also shows the need to unbundle or detail their price of fuel per liter,” Zarate said.
“We demand that oil companies withdraw their opposition to the DOE unbundling circular, which Bayan Muna has been advocating for in the interest of transparency. Except for the international price of oil, nobody knows the actual expenses of oil companies in selling fuel such as refining cost, storage, transportation, salaries and advertising cost,” he added.
In Metro Manila and nearby provinces, gas prices have fluctuated in recent months, but the cheapest stations are already charging over P50 per liter for regular unleaded fuel and around P55 per liter for the premium varieties; diesel prices are over P40 per liter.
DOE’s latest pump price listed on their website — which was accurate as of June 24 — already showed that for Manila, unleaded fuel with a 91 octane rating from the big three companies can already reach between P51 to P59 per liter.
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