The Department of Energy (DOE) has ordered the Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corporation (PNOC-EC) to import low-priced fuel to alleviate the effects of inflation.

"PNOC-EC will source low-priced petroleum products particularly diesel, to mitigate the impact of volatile oil prices," said Alfonso Cusi, DOE Secretary.

PNOC-EC acquired in December last year, a trading function to generate added income for the government.

The energy secretary claims the measure  to have a ripple effect on taming the prices of basic commodities, thus controlling inflation. The resulting price relief would ease the plight of consumers.

Under the project, the trading function of PNOC-EC will be employed in the acquisition of low-priced fuel which will mainly come from state deals.

Cusi also chairs the PNOC-EC board, revealed that the board is drafting the trading procedure and policy safeguards for the public on the proposed importation.

The products bought at a special price will be made available to dealers, operators and independent petroleum players under a Memorandum of Agreement.

In a move contrary to the purpose of the Clean Air Act, which mandated the sale of Euro IV fuels for passenger and commercial vehicles in the country starting 2017, the Energy Department issued an order to petroleum companies to sell Euro II fuels.

"Pursuant to existing Philippine National Standards on Diesel Fuel Quality and in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act 8479, otherwise known as the Downstream Oil Deregulation Law, Republic Act 8749, otherwise known as the Philippine Clean Air Act and for the purpose of reducing the impact of rising petroleum prices in the world market, all industry players are hereby directed to provide at the retail level Euro-II compliant automative diesel oil as a fuel option for the transport and industrial customers," the Memorandum Order stated.

To avoid possible misconduct by unscrupulous players, it also directed oil companies offering Euro-II compliant diesel to submit a monthly compliance report, indicating the list of participating retail outlets. The sale of the cheaper diesel fuel will be subjected to close monitoring by the agency.