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Big-time oil price hike today

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The country’s oil firms raised pump prices by as much as P1.55 per liter effective 6 a.m. Tuesday to reflect the movement of oil prices in the world market.

The oil firms raised the price of gasoline by P1.05 per liter, diesel by P1.55 per liter, and kerosene by P1.30 per liter, as world oil prices jumped due to reports of the effectiveness of a coronavirus vaccine.

However, Senator Imee Marcos called on the Department of Energy and the country’s three largest oil companies to “put people ahead of profit” and suspend the oil price hikes set for today.

Marcos, who chairs the Senate committee on economic affairs, said financial difficulties amid the COVID-19 pandemic and recent calamities called for an oil price freeze, particularly in provinces where relief efforts were ongoing due to typhoons Quinta, Rolly, and Ulysses.

“Where is your conscience at a time when people are crying out for help?” Marcos asked.

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“Petron will implement the following price increases effective 6 a.m. on Nov. 17: P1.05 per liter for gasoline; P1.55 per liter for diesel; and P1.30 per liter for kerosene. These reflect movements in the international oil market,” Petron Corp. said in its advisory on Monday.

Aside from Petron, Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, Seaoil Philippines, Cleanfuel and PetroGazz also issued their respective advisories. Other oil companies are expected to follow suit.

Phoenix said it will adjust its pump prices at the same level “except in the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela and Rizal and Marikina.”

On November 10, the oil companies cut the price of gasoline by P0.20 per but raised the price of diesel and kerosene by P0.20 and P0.40 per liter, respectively.

These resulted in the year-to-date adjustments to stand at a net decrease of P5.67 per liter for gasoline, P10.91 per liter for diesel and P13.89 per liter for kerosene, according to the latest monitoring of the Department of Energy (DOE).

DOE has announced a prize freeze for household cooking gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and kerosene upon the declaration of a state of calamity in Marikina City and Marikina until November 27 and the provinces of Cagayan and Aurora until November 28 due to Typhoon Ulysses.

The DoE said it granted local oil price increases because global market prices had spiked on positive news that a COVID-19 vaccine could soon be available.

However, Marcos cited that crude oil prices were nowhere near their levels before the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a pandemic.

“The Big Three oil companies seem to owe us a discount. Since January, they have lowered diesel prices by less than 40%, even when Middle East crude prices went down by more than 82%,” Marcos said.

Marcos added that the price of WTI crude, one of the main global oil benchmarks, even plunged into negative territory in April.

The OPEC basket benchmark price stood at $70.87 per barrel in early January, plunged to $12.41 in late April, and increased to $41.18 by November 10.

The Big Three’s diesel prices in Metro Manila ranged from P40.25 to P46.08 in early January, P24.63 to P30.56 in late April, and increased to P29.39 to P36.48 by November 10. 

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