Romualdez wants oil firms to cut prices, supermarkets to hold off price hikes

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 18 2023 09:33 PM | Updated as of Sep 19 2023 06:57 AM

An attendant fills a tricycle’s gas tank at a refilling station along Timog Avenue in Quezon City on August 1, 2023. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File
An attendant fills a tricycle’s gas tank at a refilling station along Timog Avenue in Quezon City on August 1, 2023. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - House Speaker Martin Romualdez has asked oil firms to cut oil prices as he expressed readiness to consider the oil firms' concerns, including recommending to the President the suspension of fuel excise tax collections.

He will also ask supermarkets and manufacturers to hold off on price increases.

Romualdez and House leaders sat down with oil industry players and Department of Energy officials for a dialogue on how to mitigate the cost of fuel.

"The Speaker decided na once and for all, sige bawasan ninyo yung presyo ninyo sa gasolinahan para lahat naman makatikim," Rep. Erwin Tulfo said in a press conference.

“If you are part of the solution, Congress will be very appreciative and supportive of you. But if you are part of the problem, we might have to undertake measures that would be unpalatable to you,” Romualdez said in a statement.

“I hope we can work together to help our people,” Romualdez said as he suggested that oil firms find ways to cut their profit margins to reduce fuel prices.

Tulfo said a similar meeting with manufacturers and supermarkets is being set for next week.

He said the Speaker made the call after the oil players sought their own concessions.

"Iyung request ng mga oil players is the usual the excise tax tapos yung bioethanol yung Republic Act to ease it up dahil medyo mabigat daw yung bioethanol na minimix sa mga gas natin ngayon sa oil," Tulfo said.

But the representatives of the oil industry players were non-committal.

"The speaker said, you've been asking for a lot so what can you give us naman , we're ready to talk about this different agencies pero what can you offer us. Wala silang masagot so may round 2 may second round na meeting ulit," Tulfo said.

Energy Undersecretary Sharon Garin believes the oil industry players are ready to make sacrifices.

Tulfo explained that the country only needs to hurdle the next few months as fuel prices are expected to fall by December.

Garin meantime said that oil companies will not be affected by the suspension of fuel excise tax collections.

"Hindi naman sa kanila pupunta ang advantage o disadvantage if you suspend the excise tax kasi ang kita nila pare pareho naman they will pay when they pay they put it on top of the price dagdag naman yun eh," Garin said.

Garin said government could lose about P9.8 billion for the rest of the year if the collection of fuel excise taxes is suspended. Tulfo said this could redound to P10 in savings, P14 even if bioethanol use is also eased up.

Tulfo concedes this will come with losses on the part of the government.

"Ang computation ni Cong. Dan kanina will be about P4.9 billion per month so kung mga 3 months yan..Medyo malaki laki, mga P12 to P13 billion, hanggang P15 billion mawawala sa income ng gobyerno," Tulfo said.

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