Mar Roxas investigate oligopoly in oil products amid transport strike

DOTC Secretary Mar RoxasImage via Wikipedia
Amidst the current nationwide transport strike, Transport and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas assured the country’s transport groups that the government is taking concrete steps to address the issues raised by public utility vehicles (PUVs) operators and drivers.
Roxas said a task force composed of representatives from the Department of Transport and Communications (DOTC), Department of Energy (DOE), and the Department of Justice (DOJ) has been formed by the government to investigate any “questionable collaboration” among oil companies in setting the prices for oil products at the expense of the riding public, and transport sector.
“We hear out the public and transport groups’ sentiment on the continuous oil price hike, thus the government has quickly taken concrete action to check if there is any collusion among oil firms to control oil prices in the market,” Roxas said.
The task force will investigate how oil companies come up with market oil price, particularly how much they actually spend to import the product from oil cartels in the Middle East, transfer it via Singapore or other routes, and load the products into gasoline trucks before they reach oil gas stations, said the transport secretary.
“We respect the transport group’s rights to strike and air their views. We only want to ensure that the strikes are peaceful and will create minimal effects on the daily lives of our citizens and the local trade,” Roxas said.
According to Roxas, the DOE has been tasked by the government to review if there are over-pricing in oil products. They were also directed to set the records straight in the determination of the just and reasonable prices of oil commodities.
Last week, the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) announced as well the impending adjustment of the current toll fees, due to the imposition of 12 percent VAT [value-added tax] on tolls by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), effective next month.
“The toll fee adjustment has been reviewed and approved by the Supreme Court, hence this is legal and the government has to implement it,” Roxas said.