House committee OKs bill seeking to ease effects of oil price hikes

Raffy Cabristante, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 16 2022 10:54 PM

House committee OKs bill seeking to ease effects of oil price hikes

MANILA—A measure seeking to mitigate the effects of soaring oil prices has hurdled at the committee level of the House of Representatives.

This was after the House Committee on Energy on Tuesday approved a substitute bill amending Republic Act 8749, more known as the "Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act of 1998."

In a Laging Handa press briefing on Wednesday, Marikina City 2nd District Rep. Stella Quimbo said the measure would help prevent oil companies from "overpricing" petroleum products, amid the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.

Quimbo noted that the approved measure sought to "unbundle" the price of oil, a move ensuring there is transparency among oil companies whenever they adjust their prices.

"Ang mga oil companies natin naman ay may imbentaryo. So ibig sabihin, 'yung ibinenta na gasolina sa araw na ito, eh malamang 2 to 3 months ago pa nila nabili 'yan sa mas mababang presyo... 'Yung unbundling seeks to prevent that. Kung mayroong inventory na 30 days ang bawat oil company, dapat more or less 30 days din 'yung delay ng pagtaas ng presyo," Quimbo said.

[Our oil companies have inventories of their own. The fuel products that they sell right now were most likely bought at lower prices 2 to 3 months ago. Unbundling seeks to prevent that. If every oil company has 30 days of inventory, it must also take 30 days for oil price hikes to take effect.]

She added that under the House measure, the public can tell if the oil price adjustments are justified, as it is possible for some oil companies to take advantage of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict to hike their prices.

"Pag tumaas ang presyo ng krudo sa world market sa araw na ito, hindi mo dapat ito ipasa sa consumer today, kasi 'yung laman ng pumps mo nabili mo na 30 days ago," she further pointed out.

[If oil prices rise in the world market today, oil companies shouldn't pass on the burden to consumers on the same day because their pumps contain fuel that they bought 30 days ago.]

On Tuesday, fuel companies implemented a massive oil price hike, with prices soaring up to P13.15 per liter for diesel, P10.50 per liter for kerosene, and P7.10 per liter for gasoline.

CleanFuel, meanwhile, implemented a rollback of its diesel products at some of its branches in Metro Manila and Luzon from March 16 to 18. 

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