Unioil rolls back by P6, 4 others P5

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — ANYTHING you can do, I can do better.

This was what Unioil Phils. seemed to be saying after announcing yesterday a P6 cut in pump prices when four other players — Shell, Chevron (Caltex), Petron and Seaoil — declared that they were reducing their own respective prices by P5.

Despite the rollbacks, however, Malacañang and the consuming public urged the oil companies to make the amount bigger .

Even as this developed, the Land Transportation Franchise and Regulatory Board was reportedly moving closer to a reduction in the minimum passenger fare for jeepneys and buses.

In yesterday’s consultative hearing supervised by LTFRB chairman Thompson Lantion, learned that the agency was leaning towards a P.50 cut in the minimum jeepney fare from the present P8.50 and P1 for buses from the present P10.

But there was not announcement yet as of press time.

A hearing for a fare rollback is scheduled on November 4.

“Siguro, magkusa na sila (public transport operators) dahil malaki rin naman ang ibinaba ng diesel at gasoline,” Lantion said.

While welcoming the fuel price cuts, Deputy Presidential spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo said the government would continue holding talks with oil companies to further reduce prices since the price of crude on the world market has receded to below $70 a barrel from a high of $147 in July.

House lawmakers also cited the move of the oil firms to reduce prices, expressing hope that they would do more in the near future to ease the public’s burdens in the face of the global economic meltdown.

Speaker Prospero Nograles and Leyte Congressman Ferdinand Martin Romualdez vowed to continue monitoring the movement of crude oil in the world market to ensure right pricing of petroleum products.

“This is a welcome development as a result of constructive criticism. This is for the good of the public and we hope for much better prices soon,” Romualdez said in an interview.

“Yes very happy. The rollback is good news to all of us. This is a positive result… I wish that the price of oil will go down further,” Nograles said.

But Rep. Teddy Casiño of the party-list Bayan Muna said that the oil companies should make further cuts — a sentiment echoed by the consumer group National Council for Consumer Protection headed by Elvira Medina.

Medina said National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and Economic Planning Secretary Ralph Rector came up with the correct figures last Monday on how much pump prices should be reduced.

“Tama si Secretary Rector sa sinasabi niya, dapat P11 ang ibaba ng petrolyo lalo ng diesel at dapat din tignan ng Bureau of Internal Revenue kung tama ang ibinabayad ng mga oil companies,” Medina said.

Chito Medina Cue, Unioil general manager, said that aside from the P6 cut, there would also be P2.50 reduction in gasoline prices.

He revealed that the company planned to slash prices on November 1, but decided to do it yesterday to keep pace with the four other oil companies.

Effective 2 p.m., the prices of diesel of Unioil will be P38.97 per liter while unleaded gasoline is P44.52 and premium, P45.01.

Since July, Medina-Cue said that Unioil has reduced prices by a total of P19.50, and expected more price cuts in the next few days.

“Downtrend talaga ngayon kaya expected marami pang rollback,” he said.