FUEL products are still cheap despite the imposition of new oil import duties taking effect this week, the Department of Energy (DoE) said.

On May 2, President Rodrigo R. Duterte issued Executive Order (EO) No. 113, temporarily imposing an additional 10% tariff on imported crude oil and refined petroleum products, revenue from which will add to the government’s pandemic response funds.

In a statement Wednesday, Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said the department ordered the Oil Industry Management Bureau to monitor the implementation of the new tax.

“Upon the release of EO 113, our Oil Industry Management Bureau immediately met with industry stakeholders to discuss the way forward, including their strict compliance with the EO’s guidelines,” Mr. Cusi said.

The oil bureau has projected that the tariff will raise pump prices by P1.50 to P1.60 per liter (L), starting the third week of June after fuel companies exhaust their old untaxed inventory.

It noted that “prices of petroleum products continue to remain low,” as cumulative decreases since January amount to P6.72/L for gasoline, P9.99/L for diesel, and P13.69/L for kerosene.

Prices of petroleum products rose for six consecutive weeks starting the second week of May when oil prices picked up after oil-producing countries began to cut production.

This week, retail prices of gasoline increased by P1.25/L, diesel by P1.10/L, and kerosene by P0.75/L.

The DoE said about 644 fuel retail outlets of Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. have implemented the price adjustment to diesel products only.

“We will not allow any unfair practice to derail consumer interests, especially given the challenges we continue to face in the midst of the pandemic,” Mr. Cusi stressed.

Last month, the Energy Department said the government can expect an estimated P6.78 billion in revenue from the new import tax.

The temporary duty will cease either when the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act expires or once the trigger price, which the DoE set at $64 per oil barrel of Dubai crude, is reached. — Adam J. Ang