Press Release
May 16, 2006


Senator Mar Roxas, chairperson of the Senate committees on Economic Affairs and Trade and Commerce, will convene tomorrow the two committees on a large joint meeting with government officials, oil company executives, manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, supermarket owners, meat and poultry producers, consumerists, and market vendors, including food and beverage manufacturers and packaging company officials, to assess the movement of prices and obtain updates on the supply and demand of prime commodities in the wake of the successive oil price increases and devastation wrought by tropical storm Caloy.

There is need to conduct this meeting. The Senate needs to be apprised of the situation in the market, particularly due to the continued increase in the price of oil in the world market and after tropical storm Caloy left a huge swath of destruction in the Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Western Visayas, and Southern Tagalog regions, Roxas said.

Since April, local oil companies have already increased the prices of petroleum products six times, and nine times since January, to reach an average of P35 per liter for diesel, P39 per liter for kerosene, and P40 per liter for unleaded gasoline.

On the other hand, market prices of fish and vegetables in Metro Manila have been reported to increase immediately after the typhoon caused inclement weather in the metropolis.

Any increase in the price of oil affects the market prices of a slew of prime commodities consumed by ordinary Filipinos.

And now that school opening is near, we would want to know how Filipinos could cope, and how we in the government could help, with the situation, Roxas said.

Roxas has invited Secretaries Domingo Panganiban, Peter Favila, and Raphael Lotilla of Agriculture, Trade and Industry, and Energy, respectively, to the committee meeting. Also invited were LTFRB assistant secretary Ma. Elena Bautista, Sugar Regulatory Administrator James Ledesma, and National Food Administrator Gregorio Tan.

The top officials of Petron Corporation, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation, Caltex Philippines, Inc., Total Petroleum Philippines Corporation, Independent Philippine Petroleum Companies Association, Independent LPG Dealers Association, and Liquigaz Philippines Corporation have been invited as well.

On the side of the manufacturing and trade and industry sectors, Jesus Arranza, president of the Federation of Philippine Industries; Rogelio Sarmiento, chairman, Vitarich Corporation; Jess Cham, president, Meat Importers and Traders Association; Francisco Buencamino, executive director, Philippine association of Meat Processors, Inc.; Rita Palabyab, president of the Philippine Association of Broiler Integrators; Gregorio San Diego, president, United Broiler Raisers Association; and Albert Lim, National Federation of Hog farmers, Inc. are expected to attend.

Ric Pinga, executive director of the Philippine Association of Flour Millers; Atty. Santiago Polido of Alaska Milk Corporation; Atty. Joel Lloren of Nestle Philippines; Lucito Chavez, vice president of the Philippine Federation of Bakery Association; Atty. Darlene Lim of Procter and Gamble Philippines; Henry Taedo, president of the Tin Can Manufacturers Association of the Philippines; and Henry Gaw, president of the Packaging Institute of the Philippines will also be attending the meeting.

In convening the meeting, Roxas said the Senate would like to know what measures the government are taking to mitigate the impact of oil price increases on basic commodities and to ease the burden borne by consumers.

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