ZAMBOANGA CITY – Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi vowed on Friday to look into the exorbitant prices of fuel in this southern port city.

Cusi’s statement came after Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar made an appeal through Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista, the Cabinet Officer for Development and Security (CORDS) for the region.

“Please help us in ZC (Zamboanga City), sadly we currently have the highest gas price,” Salazar said in a text message to Bautista.

“We will look into this mayor,” Cusi said in a text message to Salazar in response to the latter’s call for help to reduce the prices of fuel to help the people of Zamboanga City.

The DOE is the government agency that is responsible for all issues related to energy exploration, development, utilization, distribution, and conservation.

Salazar has expressed dismay over the high fuel prices that range from more than PHP61 to more than PHP67 per liter despite this city being home to the major oil players' depots.

A passenger jeepney driver, who requested anonymity, said he hopes the government could soon address the steep price of gasoline in the city.

“It is a heavy burden to us drivers. Due to the imposition of MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine), we can only carry a limited number of passengers. Yet we have to spend much on fuel,” he lamented.

The city has been placed under MECQ from October 16 to 31 due to the surge in cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

As of October 20, it has registered 19,544 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 16,245 recoveries, 2,427 active cases, and 872 deaths. (PNA)