GMA doubts Reyes on LPG

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — PRESIDENT Macapagal-Arroyo did not believe Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes when he reported in last Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting that the supply of liquefied petroleum gas has stabilized.

Press Secretary Cerge Remonde yesterday said the President immediately called up a friend who owned an eatery after Reyes gave his report. The friend contradicted Reyes.

“Alam mo kasi si Pangulong Gloria may sariling intelligence dito. Noong sinabing ganoon tinawagan niya iyong isang kaibigan niyang may karinderya. Nagsumbong na ganyan, ganyan. So ang cause na sinabi niya, hindi naman pala ganyan,” Remonde related the exchange between the President and Reyes.

Remonde however neither confirmed nor denied reports that the President gave Reyes a scolding. But he said Mrs. Arroyo reiterated her directive for Reyes to exhaust all efforts to end the LPG shortage.

Reyes told reporters after Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting that Mrs. Arroyo on satisfied with his explanation and ordered him to run after those who are hoarding, illegally refilling and under-filling and withholding LPG cylinders.

When asked if the President’s concern over the LPG supply problem could lead to Reyes’s relief, Remonde said the matter is entirely up to her.

“Baka di-ni-deposito lang muna… Iniipon muna sa salop,” Remonde said hinting that Reyes could be making one too many mistakes.

What’s normal?

At the resumption of the House inquiry into the LPG shortage, Reyes reiterated there is enough supply of cooking gas in the retail outlets.

However, he admitted some outlets are still selling LPG tanks at a high price but government cannot do anything since cooking gas is not regulated.

Disagreeing with Reyes on the LPG situation, Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez said it could not be normal as the people are still complaining about the high price of the commodity.

According to Golez, the DoE should not only assure enough supply of LPG but also its low cost so it would not add to the burden of the people.

Reyes said pricing is the concern of the Department of Trade and Industry.

Normal soon

The supply of LPG gas will hopefully return to normal next month because of the arrival of a shipment of the cooking gas.

Arnel Ty, president of the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers Association, said yesterday that lower contract prices on the world market will also result in big price reductions on the domestic market in March.

A tank of LPG-11 kilogram is now being sold by dealers at prices starting from P540 to as high as P570 but the consumers are helpless because of its scarcity.

The situation will change, however, with the arrival of some 25,000 metric tons of LPG for major supplier Liquigaz. Another big shipment is due next week.