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MANILA, Philippines – Oil companies that were reported to have increased their prices even before the implementation last month of the TRAIN Act have been cleared by the Department of Energy (DOE).

The DOE is still validating. Comparing submissions of companies with historical data, there are no violations yet.

According to Leonido Pulido, Department of Energy’s assistant secretary, despite oil companies being cleared of the issue, there are three liquefied petroleum gas or LPG sellers that have defied the government’s regulations although requirements have been implemented and posted in their area. Hence, they would have to go through penalties.

January of this year, the Department of Energy released an order to show cause against oil retailers of not less than 20 within Metro Manila that increased their rates even before TRAIN was implemented.

The DOE discovered around 30 percent of oil retailers, equivalent to approximately 6,800 stations, including 408 Shell, 245 Petron, and 37 Flying V gas stations from Luzon and a total of 178 Caltex gas stations (49 in Luzon, 84 in Visayas, and 45 in Mindanao), have increased their prices from January 5 to 11, January 8 to 12, and January 9 to 11 and January 13 to 14, respectively.

DOE will inflict penalties like invalidating licenses if retailers are proven to have unwarranted increase in prices for fuels.

During their investigation, Pulido noted that they required the companies to present some documents like inventory from December 31 last year and records of withdrawal from stations as of January 28 this year. He said that they compared these data with historical reports.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) assisted in validating submissions as requested by the DOE since the BIR is not allowed to dispense official register books (ORBs) as these are considered as confidential records, as explained by Pulido.

The Department of Energy has been strictly monitoring oil companies in the midst of issues that several stations were already applying the new fuel excise tax on oil products under the TRAIN Act.

Under the new law, the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act, there will be higher gasoline excise tax to 7 pesos per liter from previously 4.35 pesos per liter. At the same time, diesel will have a new tax price of 2.50 pesos per liter, kerosene of 3 pesos per liter, and auto LPG of 2.50 pesos per liter.

According to estimates of DOE, prices for gasoline are presumed to have an additional 2.97 pesos per liter, 2.80 pesos per liter for diesel, 3.36 pesos per liter for kerosene, 2.80 pesos per liter for auto LPG, and 1.12 pesos per kg for propane used in households.

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