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Gas prices in Bohol to be probed anew

TAGBILARAN CITY, Philippines — Energy Assistant Secretary Leonido Pulido III is scheduled to attend a hearing on September 15 to shed light on the higher prices of fuel in Bohol compared to adjacent provinces.

The Bohol Provincial Board, upon the motion of PB Member Tomas Abapo Jr., called for an investigation on the disparity of fuel prices between Bohol and those in Negros Oriental and Cebu.

The PB ad hoc committee, created for the purpose and in aid of legislation, is composed of acting Vice Governor Venzencio Arcamo as chairman, and Abapo, Abel Damalerio and Elpidio Jala as members.

The PB earlier decided in June to initiate another investigation into the higher prices of fuel in Bohol, after Abapo delivered a privilege speech where he raised the issue on the disparity of the prices of gasoline and diesel in Tagbilaran City and the neighboring area, Dumaguete City, by P4 per liter.

Abapo moved for another investigation on the blatant difference of pump prices of petroleum products in Bohol, particularly Tagbilaran City, compared with those in other provinces. For one, he said diesel prices in Dumaguete City are cheaper by P4 compared to those in Tagbilaran City.

The PB had actually investigated this matter last year but it showed that the disparity still exists to this day, prompting it to conduct a new probe now.

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It can be noticed that the disparity of fuel prices in Bohol and those in other provinces has narrowed down between P8 and P12 per liter, as monitored in 2014, to an average of P3 at present. However, the provincial leaders noted the difference despite the entry of some independent players.

Governor Edgar Chatto even threatened then to elevate the matter to Malacañang and might file cases against those found to be manipulating the prices of fuel in Bohol. Chatto later consulted top officials of the Department of Energy, and the Energy Regulatory Commission to address this nagging concern.

The governor also relayed the matter to Representative Rene Relampagos (1st district, Bohol) so the latter could elevate it to the House and the Senate. (FREEMAN)

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