Solon wants transparency in unbundling of oil prices

MANILA A partylist lawmaker at the House of Representatives on Monday said that there is a need for full public transparency in the unbundling of petroleum product prices.

1-CARE Rep. Carlos Uybarreta, vice-chair of the House committee on energy, made the statement in reaction to the Department of Energy's (DOE) plan to issue a policy requiring oil firms to unbundle (or the detailing of adjustments made) the prices of petroleum products.

"Fuel price transparency is an absolute necessity whether fuel prices are high or low because full public disclosure, similar to what is happening in the Philippine stock exchange and in the unbundled electricity rates, is what ought to happen with fuels," he said.

Uybarreta said with unbundling of fuel prices, point of sale purchases of gasoline, diesel, kerosene, and liquefied petroleum gas would have to show the breakdowns of the costing of the fuel in a similar way as the breakdown of electricity bills.

He said the fuel receipt must show crude oil cost, when it was bought, and the price components because of importation excise tax paid, foreign exchange currency adjustments, refining costs, and distribution costs.

The lawmaker said there should also be an online database of all the fuel prices sold across the country and relevant data on the cost breakdown of all fuel sold from the time of importation to point of sale.

He suggested that all the data be made available to the general public using their own desktop computers and mobile devices.

The data and the database must be open to regular and surprise spot audits by external private auditors and the Commission on Audit, he noted.

"Fuel price transparency policies and processes have been in place in other countries for years now. It has taken so long for this to come to our shores. It is long overdue. The time for it has finally come," Uybarreta said.

The DOE is currently conducting consultations with the stakeholders on the mechanism for unbundling.

The agency said this new policy enables the unbundling of the base prices of petroleum products�gasoline, automotive and industrial diesel, kerosene, jet fuel, bunker-fuel oil, and household and automotive liquefied petroleum gas.

Oil companies will be required to provide a weekly notice of the price adjustments�whether this be a decrease, an increase or no adjustment�along with the computation of their products' components based on the elements involved in the international price movement, biofuels cost and operational-cost recovery. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency