Energy department open to biz group’s call-A A +A
Thursday, August 9, 2012
THE Department of Energy (DOE) said it is open to calls to review some of the provisions of Republic Act 8479, otherwise known as An Act Deregulating the Downstream Oil Industry or more popularly known as Oil Deregulation Law, to pave way for the business sector’s effort to detour favorable response to the demand of increasing the wages of workers in Northern Mindanao.
Zenaida Y. Monsada, DOE’s director for Oil Industry Management Bureau, said the Energy department has created a review committee to look into possibilities of amending some provisions of the law that could likely affect the pricing of petroleum products favorably to consumers.
Monsada expressed optimism that the working group would find solution to address the business sector’s concern on petitions of wage increases through the intervention of the law, though “it does not guarantee to lower the prices of petroleum products.”
“The law is dynamic. There’s no law that is perfect. The review committee is on the process of gathering data…and this working group is already at the analysis stage,” she said.
Quoting the statement of DOE Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Monsada said the present Energy department’s leadership called on “serious regulation by the government.”
“But (we can’t please everybody) who don’t accept reasonable prices and reasonable increases. But we would like to come up with little guidelines as to what reasonable prices and increases would be. It’s more on giving teeth to enforce the law,” she told SunStar Cagayan de Oro during a lunch break at a one-day multi-sectoral forum on Downstream Oil Industry here Wednesday, jointly spearheaded by the DOE and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA).
For the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OroChamber) Foundation Inc., amending some provisions of such law may strengthen the purchasing power of every peso in the market should prices of petroleum products drop, which could result for the labor sector to stop from petitioning salary hikes.
The business group believes that high prices of petroleum products weaken the value of every single peso spent by minimum-waged earners.
The law needs not to be repelled, a single provision to be changed may be enough, the business group said.
Monsada said the law is progressive and need much improvement.
Meanwhile, the Energy department’s official said the government is spending “tremendously” on a P1 subsidy on the price of diesel per liter for the benefit of the transport sector.
“We spend more than P500 million a month for this subsidy. It’s good that some oil companies are giving out P1 discount per liter of diesel on their own initiative,” she said.
Some experts say one of the biggest blunders of Philippine government is the enactment of the Oil Deregulation Law.
“It is a complete defiance to the mandate of the Philippine Constitution that leaders as public servant must serve and protect the interest of the majority,” eco-Philippines website said.
According to the proponents of the law, it is need in the country in order to facilitate and encourage adequate and continuous supply of environmentally clean and high quality petroleum products. Thus, the state shall liberalize and deregulate the downstream oil industry to boost the petroleum’s competitive market and promote the influx of more new players in the industry, the website also said.
It quoted Anakpawis Party List Rep. Rafael Mariano’s statement that says: “Oil companies have abused the deregulation law for their ultimate objective of profiteering at the expense of the consumers grueling from the domino effect of excessive oil prices on basic goods, services and utilities.”
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 10, 2012.