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Fuel crunch

The party list Anakpawis, which includes groups representing farmers, drivers and fishermen, called on the government to start taking steps to repeal the oil deregulation law to safeguard the country from “exploitation” by oil companies.

I said the 1998 law had only “empowered oil monopolies to overprice and manipulate oil pricing in the country” to the detriment of the public.

Fuel prices have steadily risen over the past months. Since the start of the year, the net increase in the price of fuel has already amounted to as much as P10.

Under the Downstream Industry Deregulation Act enacted in 1998, government control was removed so that oil companies may become more competitive with their supply and pricing of petroleum products. Anakpawis said this had only emboldened oil companies “to manipulate and jack up oil prices at unaffordable levels courtesy of the state’s inability to govern and regulate prices of domestic petroleum products.”

It demanded government to take full control and nationalize the oil industry to safeguard consumers from unwarranted price hikes.

As an alternative to deregulation, Anakpawis is also pushing for the enactment of House Bill No. 00244 and HB 04711 that would renationalize Petron Corp. and regulate the Philippine downstream oil industry, respectively. Another bill, HB 10386, will unbundle fuel prices and mandate oil companies to itemize the details of oil price movements in the country so that consumers would know how much of the charges were being passed on to them.

The price of fuel has been skyrocketing in recent months and with global prices still on an uptrend, we may have to brace ourselves for even higher prices in the coming months.There are calls to repeal the oil deregulation law because Filipinos do not see their government doing anything to minimize the impact of continuously increasing prices of fuel. If that is out of the question, is there anything else our government is willing to do to shield the Filipino people from runaway fuel prices?*

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December 2022
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