Zamboanga biz leaders decry high fuel cost in city
ZAMBOANGA CITY — Leaders of the business community are seeking an investigation into the high cost of fuel here compared to other cities in Mindanao.
Pedro Rufo Soliven, president of the Zamboanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation Inc. (ZCCIFI), told the Inquirer that among the major cities in Mindanao, and “even throughout the country, it appears that Zamboanga City has one of the most expensive fuel pump prices.”
Soliven said this “unconscionable” situation must end for the sake of the consumers.
Based on the monitoring made by the ZCCIFI from June 22 to 25, Zamboanga City’s diesel price is P50.26 to P53.36 per liter while in the Western Mindanao cities of Pagadian and Dipolog, diesel’s pump price is P44.10 pesos to P47.21 per liter.
Soliven noted that in other highly urbanized cities of Mindanao such as Cagayan de Oro, Davao and General Santos, diesel costs P41.85 pesos to P45.03 per liter.
For premium gasoline with octane rating RON91, the pump price in Zamboanga City is P59.69 to P61.92 per liter whereas it is only P51.62 to P52.32 per liter in the cities of Dipolog and Pagadian while P50.70 to P55.55 per liter in the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Davao and General Santos.
“The disparity is very high and this condition unnecessarily adds to the cost of living and cost of doing business in Zamboanga City which, in this time of the pandemic, is an added difficulty to the sufferings endured by Zamboangueños,” Soliven explained.
ZCCIFI has already brought the issue before Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, requesting that an official investigation be done.
“We understand that the downstream fuel industry is deregulated, but we are also certain that no logistics or fuel storage cost can account for this unconscionable and shocking disparity in fuel prices,” Soliven said in his letter to Cusi.
He added that “deregulation is not license to charge exorbitantly with impunity.”
“At some point, the State must come in to protect the interest of its citizenry. Given (that) the difference in price amounts to more than P5 per liter, and the total monthly demand of Zamboanga City amounts to millions of liters,” large sums of money are drained from the local economy, Soliven explained.
There are a total of 100 gasoline stations in the city, most of which are Shell, Petron and Caltex. Phoenix and Sea Oil have also expanded their foothold in the local fuel market.