[By Rick Daligdig]
A series of Oil Price Hike (OPH) was observed over the past weeks.
Last Tuesday, [October 26, 2021] oil companies impose another round of OPH, gasoline increase by P1.15 per liter, diesel by .45 centavos per liter, and kerosene by .55 centavos per liter. Several factors affect and dictate the price of oil in the world market. Basically, that is the supply and demand relationship. When the oil rich countries decide to cut off their supply while demand is steadily increasing expect that prices must go up. Political situation must also be a contributing factor good example to these are oil producing countries like in the Middle East Regions. Climate and weather must also be considered on this. Remember when the winter season is all over the US there is an increase in the demand for oil.
In a country like ours, that we are heavily dependent on oil imports the challenge and problems occurs everytime there is a sudden and abrupt increase in oil prices in the world market. Our PUV drivers are the first victims of unprecedented OPH combined with the economic turmoil that on-going pandemic brings to us. Several options to lighten the burden are on the table, one is the Fare increase which is all we know can do more harm than good. Deferment on the collection of excise tax on oil products are on the list but the government needs a lot of money in order to make the economy afloat. Some suggested that subsidies or ayuda must give to the heavily laden transport sector. Lastly the debate on whether the 23 yrs. old RA 8479 commonly known as Oil Deregulation Law must be revisit.
R.A. 8479 was promulgated in an attempt to make the oil industry competitive and break the monopoly in oil. From three giants oil companies, there are now at least 80 small to big oil company players in the industry. The purpose of having a competitive business in the industry was attained by offering world-class services and products to the consumers. Oil Companies also complied with the environmental laws and pay huge taxes to the government. But silent on how will be the pricing in the local markets in order to make a fair and just price and check to if it was not overbroad. Government cannot intervene nor dictate how the pricing be done. In the end, we are tightrope on the dictate of the world market, especially in oil prices. This is business, oil companies needs to make profit but being in the service industry, please keep in mind that they must have a sense of social responsibility to help alleviate the plight of poverty of our PUV drivers. On the side of government, they must come up with a solution in order to mitigate or resolve the problem while we are waiting for the market normalizes. And revisiting Oil Deregulation Law should be one of those. ###