PNOC urged to reenter retail fuel business
State firm Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) should become active again in the fuel retail market as an “independent oil player” to help address the impact of oil price increases, according to one of its directors Rex Tantiongco.
Tantiongco was chair of the Energy Regulatory Board, which approved or disapproved pump price changes proposed by oil firms, before the downstream petroleum industry was deregulated in 1998.
The PNOC director proposes that the government take measures would stabilize the prices of petroleum products to lessen the impact to end users, particularly, to the transport sectors.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine last February, volatility in the oil market has resulted in a net increase of P19.30 per liter of diesel; P8.80 per liter of gasoline; and P15.20 per liter of kerosene.
“The depressing impact of the continuing hikes in prices, if not mitigated, could result in transport sector, labor sector and commuter unrest,” Tantiongco said.
He is pushing for an expansion of the functions of the PNOC itself or a subsidiary of the state firm by way of consignment and marketing, and tolling or business agreement with Petron Corp., the country’s sole crude oil refiner.
Tantiongco said that, through such a partnership, PNOC would sell fuel to the public transport—jeepneys, buses, taxis and ride-sharing vehicles—“at a calibrated amount of cash rebates without indulging in predatory pricing.”
This, he said, will be an “ayuda” or cash assistance to targeted consumers of diesel, gasoline and auto LPG.
“This privilege [to buy at lower prices from PNOC] is limited to franchise holders and, thus, should be properly coordinated with the Department of Transportation and the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board. This scheme is easy to administer, [with] less red tape, and can minimize, if not eliminate, corruption, since it would benefit only the daily gas consumption of the legitimate public utility drivers directly, not passing through channels,” Tantiongco said.
Besides, he added, some private oil companies are—at a limited scale—already making use of cash rebates, discounts, or sales incentives to their customers.
Also, through this proposed PNOC business, the state firm will supply at prevailing market prices petroleum products and other transportation supplies like tires and batteries to all local and national government entities. INQ
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