Candidates’ call for government regulation of oil needs context
During the last leg of ABS-CBN’s Harapan Senatorial Town Hall Debate on March 3, 2019, Public Utility Jeepney driver Dominigo Zillabo posed this question:
Ano po ba ang magagawa n’yo para mapababa ang presyo ng krudo, para naman ho tumaas ng konti ang naiuuwi naming kita para sa aming pamilya po?
Three candidates said they would push for the suspension of excise taxes on fuel under the TRAIN law as well as the review or repeal of the Oil Deregulation Law to address sky-high prices of petrol.
LEODY DE GUZMAN:
Dapat baligtarin talaga ‘yung oil deregulation law. Dapat ma-regulate, magkaroon ng kontrol ang gobyerno dahil ‘yan ang papel ng gobyerno.
Suspension ng TRAIN law, and review ng deregulation ay makakatulong.
Tatanggalin po natin yung oil deregulation law …Ibalik natin yung Oil Price Stabilization Fund na tinanggal pagkatapos ng EDSA kudeta.
What the records said:
R.A. 8479 or the “Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act of 1998” indeed failed to make the price of petroleum affordable in the Philippines. But even if the country reverts to a regulated oil industry, the country would remain vulnerable to price fluctuations if the Philippines continues to be dependent on imported crude oil, according to the Ibon Foundation.
The “Oil Price Stabilization Fund” is no silver bullet, either. Created in 1984 as a “buffer” to price fluctuations of crude oil, the fund was eventually depleted according to a 2005 report of the Independent Committee Reviewing RA 8479, which was commissioned by the Department of Energy. One reason for the depletion, they found, was the continued increase of oil prices in the world market.
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