Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay said the government should institute measures that have a sustainable impact on the plight of the transportation sector in addition to the proposed implementation of the Pantawid Pasada Program which will only be a stopgap remedy to the plight of public utility drivers.
She also called the 50 centavo rollback on oil products by oil firms a lame attempt to appease the sentiments of the transport groups especially when oil giants will implement increases in the following days.
“The problem is that there seems to be a trend here. The government would ask these firms to implement rollbacks and they would concede, and but a few days later they will impose hikes that are double the amount they reduced, and the government cannot do anything about it because the law sides with the firms,” she said.
“While the intentions behind the fuel subsidy program is to help the transport sector get through this difficult time, the implementation has been remiss in the past leading the transport sector not to trust that the government would keep its word on the matter,” she said. “And besides, is the P450 million subsidy enough to cater to all the target beneficiaries and how long will it last?”
According to Magsaysay, the government through the Department of Energy (DoE) should have the capability to call a halt to these price hikes should they feel that the firms are going overboard in the prices of petroleum products in the market. However, the current law renders the government powerless to undertake such a move because of the freedom of the oil firms to impose increases that they see fit.
To address this, she revived her call to review the Oil Deregulation Law, which is being tagged as the culprit in the unabated round of price hikes of petroleum products in the local market.
The Oil Deregulation Act of 1998 grants oil companies control over the price of petroleum products in the market. The law was created to make sure that there was a steady stream of high quality petroleum products available in the market with reasonable prices, but at this rate, it is only the major oil players who are benefitting from the measure.
“Aside from their temporary solutions, the government should also push a long term sustainable measure to check and control the prices of petrol in the market. It will not be unfair to oil companies because the government will not force them to absorb all the costs of the increase but rather just check their profit margins to ensure that they are not overimposing on oil price hikes,” she said.#