To mitigate the rising prices of petroleum and fuel products, a measure seeking to amend the Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act hurdled committee level at the House of Representatives.
The House Committee on Energy, chaired by Pampanga Representative Juan Miguel Arroyo, approved, subject to form and style, the substitute bill that would amend Republic Act 8479, or the “Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act of 1998”.
Under the measure, the proposed amendments to RA 8479 include institutionalizing the minimum inventory requirements for petroleum products for purposes of supply security and unbundling the cost of petroleum, among others.
In his opening statement, Arroyo said prices of fuel and petroleum have been increasing, triggered by Russia’s war on Ukraine.
“We are faced with the bigger task of trying to mitigate the rising prices of petroleum and fuel,” the veteran legislator said.
In her manifestation, Marikina City Representative Stella Quimbo proposed that a provision in the substitute bill be further revised to clearly reflect that the price monitoring system of the Department of Energy would be based on the unbundled retail price of the petroleum products.
“The DOE must be mandated and capacitated to monitor the unbundled retail prices.”
“Unbundling the retail price of domestic petroleum products does not run counter to the principle of deregulation, and is, in fact, a tool to ensure its effectivity. Thus, the DOE must be mandated and capacitated to monitor the unbundled retail prices,” Quimbo said.
The legislator also proposed to grant the President the power to suspend or decrease fuel excise tax rates when Dubai crude oil based on Mean of Platts Singapore (MOPS) pricing reaches $80 per barrel.
“We must also pass a measure which can be responsive to the needs of our people in times of shocks, calamities or wars.”
“Finally, while we remain steadfast in our commitment to deregulation and competitive markets, we must also pass a measure which can be responsive to the needs of our people in times of shocks, calamities or wars. As we are constrained by the effects of supply and demand in a deregulated regime, we should not be left without the ability to have quick recourse when such effects result in the suffering of many Filipinos,” the lady lawmaker stressed.
The panel approved the motion of Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate for the Committee on Energy as a whole to request President Rodrigo Duterte for a special session.