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December 22, 2014

PEOPLE'S JOURNAL: Spare tankers from truck ban -- Rep. Ty

A PARTY-LIST lawmaker yesterday urged the Metro Manila Development Authority to spare fuel tankers from the truck ban to expedite the delivery of vital petroleum products from Batangas and Bataan following the Supreme Court order shutting down the Pandacan oil depot.

House Deputy Minority Leader and LPG Marketers’ Association Rep. Arnel Ty said the operation of fuel tankers should not be disrupted.

“The MMDA may have to exempt fuel tanker trucks from the road ban, if only to avoid supply disruptions, which may be exploited by abusive traders as an excuse to prop up pump prices, or to delay further price rollbacks,” said Ty.

The MMDA forbids trucks from Metro roads from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. every day except Sundays and holidays.

Oil companies have been rolling back pump prices based on the 40 percent drop in the cost of crude oil in world markets since June.

However, Ty expressed concern that profiteers might take advantage of supply glitches due to the closure of the Pandacan depot as a pretext to keep pump prices elevated.

Ty was responding to the warning issued by the Department of Energy that fuel prices may rise after Pilipinas Petroleum Corp., Petron Corp. and Chevron Corp. (formerly Caltex Philippines INc.) wind down their Pandacan operations to comply with the Supreme Court order.

The extra cost factor will come from the “Big Three” having to obtain their bulk supplies by road using tanker trucks, instead of sea-based barges from their oil refineries and terminals in Batangas and Bataan, according to DoE Undersecretary Zenaida Monsada.

Monsada said some 70 percent of petroleum products in Luzon, including Metro Manila, come from the 33-hectare Pandacan depot in Manila, where the so-called big three have been running storage facilities and distribution terminals.

Monsada sees one to two days of lag time in the road transger of oil products from Batangas and Bataan.

The Supreme Court ordered the relocation of the Pandacan depot, saying it puts Manila residents at grave risk in the event of a terrorist attack.

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