THE Oil Deregulation Law has brought many players in the petroleum business in the country. The “big three” has so many competitors. The law must have brought down the oil price due to competition. But what is happening?

I remembered during the Ramos administration that we went to the streets protesting for the privatization of the oil industry. There was an approved oil price hike amounting to almost P5 in one week. We shouted at the administration to deregulate the oil industry.

We wanted it deregulated so that private oil companies could come in to destroy the oil monopoly in the country. Our cries and woes had been heard and the Oil Deregulation Law was passed.

After a month or so, small players were introduced, only to find out that these were pawns of the big three monsters. The government had no regulation over the companies but it still gets a lot of taxes from the oil products.

The oil industry flourished as “small petroleum businesses” joined forces with the three monsters and produced a monopoly. They did not only earn in the sale of the products but they also got a lot from a private franchise.

The oil industry is a very lucrative business in this part of the world.

A few days ago, I came across a promo of a car company saying that one can get the car with a P15,000 down payment and it’s “all-in.”

The monthly amortization would just play between P15,000 to P25,000 a month, depending on the plan that one would take.

In fact, there was one who told me that one could start paying the monthly dues only after a month or two after the down payment.

Why do we have these promos on cars all around us? It seems that we are being trapped and told that they are offering us a fair deal.

However, looking at the scenario. In the Philippines, cars become a status symbol. It would improve one’s image once he owns a car, especially the high-end ones. Cars or “wheels” would change one’s view of the person.

Today, when a person is on foot, he is considered to be just a mere second class citizen but when one is on a car, he is a first-class citizen and respected one.

This has been our culture. It brings us back to the primitive times where when one owns a horse, he is a haciendero or a planter but when one owns a carabao, he is a farmer; and when one is on foot, he is a slave. This is brought to the contemporary period.

So, going back to the issue at hand, oil price hike and excise tax are two realities by which the Filipino might once again go back to the time where he will be viewed as a slave for he will be back on foot.

The sky-high price of fuel cannot match the low priced vehicles.

One could spend around P10,000 to P12,000 for fuel alone plus the other needs of the car, you may spend a total of P20,000 a month (exclusive of the rising price of registration, invisible plates, and stickers and the expensive renewal of the license).

One could no longer afford to ride a car anymore. What’s the use of buying one then?

What I fear in the near future is that oil prices might reach its peak, like P70/liter. What a pity. Most of us will have cars in our garage as models and no longer mobile due to the high cost of fuel.

Expect for another round of oil price hike in the next two weeks.