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PIA Press Release

PGMA orders strict audit of oil, power firms to ensure public benefit from lower oil prices

Manila (6 August) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered an audit of oil and power companies to ensure that the downtrend in world oil prices will immediately benefit the public in the form of lower prices of the socially-sensitive commodity.

Press Secretary Jesus Dureza told a press briefing in Malacanang that the President directed the Department of Energy (DOE) to undertake the audit.

He said the President wants to ensure that oil and power companies are fully compliant with the Oil Deregulation Law, and that the lowering of oil prices in the international market are correspondingly reflected in the local market.

"Ang gusto ng Pangulo, nag-reduce ang presyo sa international market dapat this will already benefit (the local consumer)," Dureza said.

Also present during the briefing were Presidential Management Staff (PMS) chief Secretary Cerge Remonde and newly appointed Cabinet Secretary Silvestre Bello III.

Remonde said the President directed Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes to conduct a "more strict audit of oil firms" during the joint National Price Coordinating Council and National Food and Energy Council (NPCC-NFEC) meeting in Malacanang this morning.

The President wants the claim of oil and power companies of "under recoveries" verified through strict auditing procedures, Remonde added.

US-based investment banking giant Merill Lynch has projected that the downtrend in the price of oil in the global market is likely to continue until next year.

The benchmark trading last week was pegged at $122 a barrel, down from the record-high of close to $147, in previous weeks. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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