National Federation of Sugarcane Planters president Enrique Rojas yesterday called on Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla to act on the fuel prices in Bacolod City that are much higher than in Manila and Cebu.
“The sugar industry needs all the help it can get so that it can be globally competitive in the post-2015 scenario. The lowering of fuel prices in Bacolod to within the level of Manila and Cebu will help protect the livelihood of the several millions who directly and indirectly depend on the sugar industry,” Rojas wrote Petilla.
It has been observed that fuel prices in Bacolod are higher by more than P8 per liter compared to Manila, and more than P10 per liter compared to Cebu, Rojas said.
Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon, Jr. and other provincial officials, our congressmen, leaders of the business sector and transport groups in the province have decried this wide disparity and have been calling on the DOE to investigate and act on the issue, he added.
NFSP joins the call for an immediate investigation of the fuel price disparity Bacolod City and other major cities in the country, he said.
“We urge the Department of Energy to take the necessary measures to ensure that Negros consumers are not taken advantage of by these huge monopolistic oil companies,” Rojas added.
Fuel is one of the biggest cost factor in the cultivation, transport and milling of sugarcane, the major crop of the province, he said.
Thus, an increase in fuel prices brings a corresponding increase in the sugar industry’s production cost, he added.
The sugar industry confronts the lowering of tariff on imported sugar to zero to five percent by 2015. This will open the domestic market to cheaper, subsidized sugar which will most likely displace domestically produced sugar, Rojas pointed out.*CPG