Local supply of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) remains tight. Even retailers complain of the lack of supply. The Arroyo government could not explain why nor would it do anything about it because of the deregulation of the downstream oil industry.
BY RONALYN OLEA
Local supply of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) remains tight. Even retailers complain of the lack of supply since December.
Josie, a retailer at the Bgy. Pitogo, Makati City said they used to get 60 LPG tanks of assorted brands per day. These days, they only get 10 tanks. “For pick-up pa. Pipila pa, matagal makakuha ng stock.” (We even have to pick up the stocks and wait in line. It takes a long time to secure new stocks.)
Petron, Liquigaz, Shell, and Total are among the leading brands, accounting for almost 92 percent of the local market.
Josie said that before January, they usually sell 100 LPG tanks per day. These days, only 50 tanks are sold.
Another retailer at Bgy. Kamuning, Quezon City said they were forced to close shop on January 28. Loida said not one LPG tank of any brand was delivered to them that day.
Loida said they used to get at least 15 LPG tanks per day. These days, they seldom get ten tanks from the dealers. She said that since January, they have no stock of M-Gas and Total.
Lito, another retailer at Bgy. Retiro, Quezon City, said there are days that there are no deliveries of LPG tanks. At times, he could get at least ten tanks. On January 28, he was able to get 15 tanks, which were sold in less than an hour.
Ana, a dealer of four brands of LPG in Bgy. Sacred Heart, Quezon City, complained that since December, there had only been one delivery of seven tanks of Gasul. All were sold in one day.
She said she could not get any stock of Total, M-Gas and Pinnacle. “Tawag kami nang tawag, wala pa raw. Hindi pa rin alam kailan uli magkakaroon.” (We keep following up our order but the dealers say that there is still no stock available. They say that they still do not know when there will be stocks available.)
Prices of LPG tanks from all the retailers interviewed by Bulatlat range from P477 to P500 ($10.065 to $10.55 at the current exchange rate of $1=P47.39) per 11-kg LPG tank.
Amid the shortage of LPG, Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes told the public not to panic.
The Department of Energy and the Department of Justice created a task force to investigate and prosecute cases against traders who are guilty of hoarding and overpricing. None has been dealt with so far.
In a statement, Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said that the oil industry had already been deregulated and the government could do little against high prices of LPG amid an unexplained shortage of the commodity.
Dureza said further, “We are in a deregulated regime and government cannot just come in there anytime and then dictate what should be done by the private sector.”
Reyes claims the supply of LPG will normalize in two weeks. (with reports from Angie de Lara)