'Walang arte-arte': Ramon Ang says gov't can buy Petron 'anytime'

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 08 2021 04:52 PM

Motorbike riders stop for gas at a refueling station at the Petron Gas station on Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City on March 02, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File
Motorbike riders stop for gas at a refueling station at the Petron Gas station on Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City on March 02, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - San Miguel Corporation president Ramon Ang on Monday said he is willing to sell Petron Corp to the government "anytime" if this would mitigate the impact of the rising prices of fuel.

Ang said this during a hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee after being asked by ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. France Castro on a suggestion to "nationalize" Petron.

"Yung sina-suggest na bilhin ng gobyerno yung Petron privatization, anytime po, pwede ko pa ipautang sa Philippine Government. Bilhin niyo ito ng over 5 years to pay," Ang said.

(What was being suggested, for the government to buy, privatization of Petron, anytime. I can even put it on loan to the Philippine government. Buy this, over 5 years to pay. 

"I swear, kung gusto ng gobyerno bilhin, handa niyo na, sabihin niyo na, bebenta ko kaagad sa inyo. Pagawan niyo na ng evaluation immediately, walang arte arte," Ang added.

(I swear, if the government wants to buy it, just let me know, I will sell it immediately. Make an evaluation immediately, no hedging.)

In 2020, the company lost P18 billion, he said.

The domestic oil industry is among those badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially during the early lockdowns when transport was halted to curb the virus' spread.

"Kung sa tingin niyo, jackpot yung negosyong 'yan, let the government buy it and the market [value] lang, hindi ko kailkangan tubuan ang gobyerno," Ang said.

(If you think this business is a jackpot, let the government buy it in market value, I won't even make a profit out of the government)

The government used to own shares in Petron through the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) which it eventually sold.

The House panel was discussing a proposal to suspend excise taxes on fuel products. 

Under the proposal, sellers will be required to report prices prior to the effectivity of the measure and every change in price thereafter. The DOE and the DOF will also have motu proprio power to request an investigation of any suspicious price action.

The estimated revenue loss from the suspension is P55.04 billion, of which P36.42 billion will be from diesel, P18.28 billion from gasoline and P0.34 billion from kerosone.

However, the proposal states that these losses will be partly offset by increases in VAT collections due to rising prices, which would be around P19.01 billion from these three products. 

Net decline in fuel tax collections will be around P36.03 billion and that continued increase in prices would make this offsetting effect even stronger, reducing net revenue losses further, the proposal said.

The panel, led by Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda, is tackling several bills on the same proposal. 

Deputy Speaker Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, in a press release Monday said the House of Representatives aims to pass his bill on suspending excise tax increases on oil products this week.

“The Speaker wants the proposed tax reduction approved immediately or as soon as possible. So let’s do it before the week is over, on the first week of our resumption of session,” he said.

He said cutting excise tax on fuel “will bring immediate relief to our people, who are reeling from the double whammy of the raging pandemic and rising pump prices of gasoline, diesel, cooking gas, and other petroleum products.

Domestic oil prices spiked for several weeks straight but a rollback is set to be implemented Tuesday.

The Department of Budget and Management earlier said it would release P1 billion fund to be used for cash grants to qualified public utility vehicle drivers as fuel subsidies. 


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