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Gatchalian wants price freeze of LPG, kerosene extended until end-June

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Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Saturday urged the Department of Energy (DOE) to extend, at least until the end of June, the price freeze on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and kerosene products.

In a press statement, the senator cited as reason the prevailing national emergency arising from the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

He said cash-strapped Filipinos, who mostly found themselves in a "no-work-no-pay" situation due to the virus, need any little amount of money to alleviate their financial burden.

He made the call to the DOE after oil companies raised the price of LPG by more than P5 per kilogram on May 1. This translates to a price increase of P56.98 up to P63.80 for a standard 11-kilogram LPG cylinder in the market.

Authorities say the higher cost of LPG products reflects the movement in the international contract price of LPG in May.

But given the slow progress of the country’s resolution of  the health crisis situation, the senator suggested the price freeze extension.

“Sa ganitong panahon ng krisis, ang 50 o 60 pesos ay malaking tulong na lalo na sa mga pamilyang nasa mahihirap na komunidad. Pwede na itong ipambili ng isang kilo ng bigas o kaya ay hanggang tatlong piraso ng delata,” Gatchalian argued.

Last March, Gatchalian made a similar call to the DOE to extend the price freeze on LPG and kerosene products, citing DOE Department Circular 2016-08-0013 that the prices of LPG and kerosene will become normal after a 15-day price freeze, unless a mandated price freeze is imposed by the President, upon the recommendation of the DOE. The price freeze on such products has been extended until April.

Further, he said that based on the 2011 Household Energy Consumption Survey, 41.2% of the almost 21 million Filipino households relied on LPG for their basic needs, such as cooking, water heating, and lighting needs, and 34.3% depended on kerosene.

The DOE has reported that in the commercial sector, LPG consumption rose at a rapid pace of 10.4% annually from 2007 to 2017.

Aside from calling for a price freeze extension, Gatchalian reiterates his call for vigilance against unscrupulous traders who will take advantage of the crisis. He urges the public to immediately report pricing abuses to the DOE. —LBG, GMA News

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