Revision of the law on deregulation of oil unlikely

Vehicles are queuing at a gas station on Monday. – PHILIPPINE STAR / RUSSELL PALMA

The Philippine Congress is unlikely to adopt a proposed measure that would give the government powers to intervene in the event of a rise in oil prices, according to the energy department.

This is when fuel dealers announced that petrol prices will rise by P3 per liter on Tuesday, while diesel and petroleum prices will rise by P4.10 and P3.50 per liter respectively.

In a televised news briefiOn Monday, Energy Secretary Gerardo Erguiza, Jr., said changing the country’s oil regulation law before the end of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s six-year term could be challenging because lawmakers are now focused on the election campaign.

He said the law is still under review in both houses of Congress, with only months left before Mr Duterte leaves Malacañang.

“Whether the (proposed) change in this Congress would be so ficompleted, Parliament and the Senate would still have to meet, ”he said. “Based on our estimates, it will be yoursfficult that any amendments will be adopted because the election season has changed their priorities. “

“After the polls, the collection, legislators obviously have to go around and maybe thank their constituencies and maybe even take on lighter burdens,” he added.

In early March, Malacañang asked Congress to revise the country’s oil regulation law following successive increases in global oil prices.

In March, the House Committee on Energy approved amendments to Republican Law No. 8479, also known as the Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act of 1998. If enacted into law, the measure would prevent oil companies from raising old stock prices and require them to increase their minimum stock to prevent flfluctuations in local fuel prices. It would also require oil players to separate domestic prices.

On March 23, Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III said lawmakers still have time to change the 24-year-old law, even though Mr. Duterte decides not to convene a special session.

Congress is currently pausing until May 22. Legislators will resume the session on May 23 until the Congress is adjourned without death on June 4th.

“If the Duterte administration is really serious about pushing for the changes, it can confirm the amendment as a matter of urgency. The real question is: Is there a political will for the Duterte administration to do so? House Minority Vice Leader and Bayan Muna Rep .Carlos Isagani T. Zarate said in a Viber announcement.

The Oil Regulation Act had removed government control over pricing, exports and imports of oil products, allowing market forces to dictate oil prices.

Progressive groups have called on the government to revise the law, saying it has allowed oil price increases to remain unchecked.

Data from the Department of Energy per. April 19 showed that adjustments from year to date are a net increase of P15.45 per. liters for petrol, P27.35 pr. liters for diesel and P21,55 pr. liters for petroleum.

Sir. Erguiza said oil prices in global markets remain volatile, mainly due to the war between Russia and Ukraine and the EU’s possible EU sanctions against Russian oil imports.

Russia is Europe’s largest oil supplier and accounts for almost a quarter of EU oil imports by 2020.

Ukraine has called on the EU to ban Russian oil and gas while the war continues.

Reuters reported on Monday that Brent crude oil futures fell 4.5% to a two-week low of $ 101.78 a barrel as investors worry that coronavirus lockdowns in China will dampen global demand. – Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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