By NITZ ARANCON
COUNCILORS frowned over yesterday’s round of fuel-price increases even as motorists complained about the pump prices that shot up for the 6th straight week yesterday.
The chairman of the city council’s committee on trade and industry, Councilor George Goking, called for a committee meeting today.
Goking said he would meet with officials from the City Price Monitoring Council, Department of Trade and Industry, and Department of Energy.
He said the increasing fuel prices would have a domino effect on the prices of basic commodities.
“Dili gyud malikayan nga mosaka na sab ang presyo sa atong mga nag-unang palaliton, ma-o nang atong metingon ang DTI ug City Price Monitoring Council aron aton matubag ang ipiktpo niining ba-ong oil price increase,” he said.
In some gas stations here, the prices of gasoline per liter ranged from P48.35 to P49.31 while diesel prices ranged from P43.75 to P47.55 per liter. In other stations, gasoline prices hit over P50 a liter.
Venus Ortiz, a supervisor of a gas station in Barangay Carmen said gasoline prices increased by as much as P1.45 per liter early morning yesterday, the biggest so far since January. Diesel prices also increased by 30 centavos a liter.
“Kada Martes gyud na since January dunay oil-price ajustment — either mo-increase or mo-decrease,” Ortiz said.
She said fuel dealers in the city only follow. “Unsay order nakamo didto sa Manila, ma-o sab na ang atong i-implement dinhi.”
Ringo Lago, secretary general of the Solidarity of Transport Alliance in Northern Mindanao-Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Starex-Piston), said various public transportation group leaders met in Metro Manila and discussed the problem.
Lago said the a mass action was being organized before the May elections.
Councilor Teodulfo Lao Jr., chairman of the city council’s public utilities committee, said there was nothing local officials could do about the problem on fuel prices.
“Kon unsay diktar sa world market wala man goy mahimo ang gobyerno tungod anang Oil Industry Deregulation Law. Ma-o nang dili nalang ko magpatawag og meeting kay wala man gyud tay mahimo ana,” Lao said.
But he said what local officials can do is to ensure that motorists are not being shortchanged by gas stations in the city. “Ma-o na lang gyud na atong mahimo ang pagbantay batok sa limbongan sa mga fuel pump.”
Lao called on the City Price Monitoring Council and DTI to conduct another round of inspections so as to ensure that fuel pumps of gas stations in the city are well calibrated.
Lao said he would ask the city council to ask the Duterte administration again to suspend the excise taxes on fuel.
Lao said he was dismayed that the national government has not acted on calls for it to act on the increasing fuel prices. As early as November last year, he said the city council approved a resolution that asked the national government to suspend the collection of excise taxes on oil products.
“Hangyo-on nato ug usab ang national government kay basin nakalimot sila sa atong unang hangyo kanila adtong last year kay bug-at na gyud kaayo ang sigi ug saka sa presyo sa gasolina,” Lao said.
He said even local politicians could already feel the effects of the fuel-price increases.
“Labi karon kay politika, makadugang na sa among gasto, kay mangampanya gud mi, adto mi sa kabukiran, ma-o na nga lakip pud kami, nagbagolbol anang pagsaka sa presyo sa gasolina,” he said.