Gatchalian: Senate to look into oil firms’ possible profiteering using TRAIN Law
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian on Thursday called for a stricter monitoring of oil companies’ inventories amid allegations of profiteering due to the imposition of additional taxes on oil under the new Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.
Gatchalian, chairman of Senate committee on energy, said oil companies who do not submit their inventories on time or give incomplete or inaccurate information about their stock levels should be penalized.
“With or without the additional excise taxes from the TRAIN Law, these companies are still duty-bound to submit their monthly inventories. And the [Department of Energy] should be on top in ensuring their compliance,” Gatchalian said in a statement.
The DOE is mandated under Section 14 of the Oil Deregulation Law (RA 8479), to maintain a periodic schedule of present and future total inventory of petroleum products in the country. Companies are required to submit a monthly report that details their sales and consumption levels, actual and projected importations, and inventory of oil products.
In a hearing of the Senate Energy Committee on Thursday last week, the DOE admitted that some oil companies have yet to fully comply in submitting detailed reports on the exhaustion level of their old stocks both at the depot and station levels. The agency is still validating the accuracy of information they received.
Gatchalian urged the DOE to speed up validation and analysis of the information it had received and start investigating whether companies and stations took advantage of the situation through undue profiteering.
“So even if oil companies and gas stations already raise prices using their new supply in accordance to TRAIN, they would still have to be audited by the DOE and determine whether they unduly increased their prices without any clear basis, in which case they will have to face the appropriate penalties and fines,” he said.
The senator has called for a hearing in relation to reports that some gasoline stations have started hiking their pump prices on their old stocks as an effect of the additional excise tax on petroleum being imposed under the TRAIN Law.
Gatchalian said the DOE was expecting about 90 percent of these companies to start adopting the increase based on TRAIN by the end of January. With the additional excise tax, unleaded gasoline would increase by about P2.97 per liter while the price of diesel will surge by P2.80 per liter. /jpv
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