Cabero: Fuel price changes

·3 min read

Fuel prices in the country have been fluctuating — up one week and down the next. But there’s a lack of transparency on the reasons for the price changes.

Fuel prices were expected to change again Tuesday, May 18, 2021, with an increase for diesel of 15 to 20 centavos per liter, a decrease for gasoline of 40 to 50 centavos per liter, and no movement for kerosene. The week before, or effective May 11, there were increases for all products — diesel, 70 centavos per liter; gasoline, 75 centavos; and kerosene, 70 centavos.

What could be the reasons behind the price changes? The usual is that the government is simply following global prices for crude oil and there’s the rise or fall of supply and demand. With the easing of quarantine rules and the opening up of the local economy, demand for fuel must be up compared to a year ago. As to global crude prices, that one needs explaining by the government.

The Global Fuel Index research done by Budget Direct in Australia (www.budgetdirect.com.au) showed that the price of gasoline in the Philippines is at US$1.12 per liter. A Top Gear Philippines report (www.topgear.com.ph) on the research said that out of 165 countries, gasoline in the Philippines is the 52nd most expensive around the world. In terms of affordability—the ratio of the country’s average monthly salary and the current fuel prices— the country ranked 49th, it said. The data used in the study was collected last Feb. 2.

The Department of Energy (DOE) should inform Filipinos on what’s driving the price adjustments and explain the changes and how the fuel taxes we pay are being used, whether in infrastructure projects or in the Covid-19 response. That transparency is needed.

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Resiliency. Philippine candidate to the Miss Universe, Rabiya Mateo of Iloilo City, was already a winner to me after I heard her speak about her life and her principles during television interviews before the pageant Monday in Florida in the United States.

In an interview with GMA 7’s Jessica Soho, Mateo was asked about the Filipino being resilient. The question came after she spoke of her family’s struggle in Iloilo City when the fury of typhoon Yolanda smashed homes in 2013. Not only that. She spoke of being raised by a single parent when her father, an Indian-American, left the family when she was five or six years old, and growing up with little money.

On resiliency, she said it is a good trait that the Filipino is able to recover quickly and adjust to one’s circumstances. But that shouldn’t be enough. We should find out the reasons behind the situation, the root causes, the why this or that even had to happen. We should act.

Relating it to the fuel price changes, yes, we accept the fluctuations as a reality but, as Mateo pointed out in relation to her struggles, that is not enough.

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