By Myrna Velasco
Prices at Philippine pumps will rise again next week at the estimated scale of P0.95 to P1.15 per liter for gasoline products and P0.70 to P0.90 per liter for diesel.
This was based on the calculation of the industry players as of the end of international trading on Thursday, July 11. The magnitude of increases will still change depending on the outcome of Friday’s trading.
The next round of cost upswings anticipated on Tuesday, July 16, will follow the slight reduction in diesel and kerosene prices in the previous week; and the negligible increase that had been enforced for gasoline products.
World oil prices had been on a rally the past trading days because of the reported decline in crude supply of the United States as well as the anticipated wallop of a storm in the Gulf of Mexico which then prompted oil producers to evacuate some of their oil rigs.
On Wednesday, trading in the international benchmark Brent crude had climbed by US$2.88 per barrel to more than US$67 per barrel; and the other crudes like Western Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Dubai crude also manifested upward adjustments.
In the domestic scene, debates on the weekly pricing adjustments still swirled on the legally hobbled implementation of the Department of Energy (DOE) Circular which has been requiring the unbundling or itemization of cost components of petroleum products at the pumps.
The most recent development was the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) by the Taguig Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 70 against the energy department’s fuel costs unbundling policy based on the petition filed by Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation.
In a ruling penned by RTC Presiding Judge Felix P. Reyes, it ordered “defendant Energy Secretary (Alfonso Cusi) and his subordinates, agents, and representatives and/or any other person assisting him or acting for and on his behalf or under his discretion, to cease and desist from implementing DC2019-05-0008, effectively only for 20 days from receipt of this order.”
The Taguig RTC decision was issued on July 3 and duly received by the DOE on July 8, making it possible for the 20-day TRO period to lapse around July 28.
In the same decision, the lower court stated that a hearing for the application of writ for preliminary injunction is scheduled on July 12, Friday, at 8:30 a.m.
With the policy’s enforcement restrained by the courts, the energy department also has its hands tied on the plan of requiring all the oil companies to make weekly display boards of price adjustments per station. (MMV)