Press Release
November 27, 2007


Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. expressed sympathy with transport groups denouncing the loopholes on the implementation of Republic Act (RA) 8479, otherwise known as the Downstream Oil Deregularization Act, as he filed a resolution to probe the continuous increases of oil prices in the domestic market.

The senator stressed that there is a justification on the part of the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON) and other transport organizations when it expressed suspicion that there is a continuous cartel operation in the local oil business.

According to Revilla, the lack of full enforcement of RA 8479 contributes to the skepticism of transport groups that there is an existence of a local oil cartel that dictates the prices of petroleum products in the country.

He noted that even Consumer and Oil Price Watch (COPW) Chairman Raul Concepcion had accused the major local oil companies of not following the provisions of RA 8479.

"The government had encouraged new partakers in the local oil industry but it is not fully successful because the new stakeholders do not have its own refining facilities and there are still allegations of price dictatorship," Revilla explained.

Under Section 8 of the RA 8479, the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) shall jointly formulate and establish a program that will promote the entry of new participants in the local oil industry.

In filing Senate Resolution No. 224, Revilla pointed out that the United Nations noted recently that the Philippines is among the countries that are most vulnerable to oil price shocks.

"Worse, more than 90% of the local industry remain under the monopoly of giant transnational corporations through their local units Petron Corporation, Pilipinas Shell, Caltex Philippines and Total Philippines Corporation," he said. He stressed that the Philippine peso is gaining strength against the US dollar and this should cushion the impact of increases of global oil prices on the local market.

"There is a general clamor from the people that the government has no credible energy program that will lessen the impact of oil price hike on the domestic economy and people's livelihood," the lawmaker added.

However, Revilla clarified that while he agrees with the observation that there is lax implementation of RA8479 and the local oil cartel still persists, he opposes the staging of a nationwide transport strike.

"Any sentiment against the government should not be passed on the commuters. If there are ways to relieve the passengers from another fare hike and lessen the price of petroleum products for the sake of motorists and transport groups, let's go for it," he added. Revilla also urged the government to be aggressive in pursuing other alternative energy resources, aside from already mandated blending of ethanol and gasoline, to further reduce the country's dependence on imported oil.

News Latest News Feed