By Myrna Velasco
Consumers will have to brace for massive increases in pump prices by Tuesday at the scale of ₱1.90 to ₱2.10 per liter for diesel; and ₱1.70 to ₱1.90 per liter for gasoline.
For kerosene, another product essential for Filipino households and industries, its prices will even climb higher to the extent of ₱2.50 to ₱2.70 per liter, based on the calculation of the oil industry players.
Higher prices will be enforced at the oil pumps by Tuesday (May 26), which is the usual course of the domestic downstream oil sector when it comes to weekly price movements.
Aggravating the financial burden of consumers would be the highly anticipated rise in the cost of cooking fuel liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) that will be implemented starting June 1.
According to industry sources and the Department of Energy, oil prices rallied in the world market last week, thereby signaling the price hikes next week.
The international benchmark Brent crude already climbed to the level of US$35 per barrel in recent trading days, compared to US$31 to US$32 per barrel the previous week.
Filipino motorists will also need to shell out additional amount for price hikes resulting from the government’s imposition of a higher 10 percent import duty on imported crude and finished petroleum products.
When it was first calculated by the government, the increases from hiked import duty should have been at ₱0.62 to ₱0.80 per liter, but given the increases in the past weeks, oil firms indicated that the increase could hover at ₱1.00 to ₱1.50 per liter.
With the two-tiered adjustments in prices, consumers will need to watch out for price hikes that could reach the magnitudes of ₱2.70 to ₱3.00 per liter next week.
On the government’s assessment, the cost impact of the import duty escalation should have been passed on starting May 21, but it was indicated by some oil companies that they will still add it on their next round of price adjustments.
The upticks in petroleum prices have been serving as “unpleasant welcome” news to the Filipinos who are just returning to work after more than two months of hiatus because of enhance community quarantine (ECQ) from the coronavirus health plague.