Opposition urges buyback of Petron to control runaway oil prices

Published October 10, 2021, 2:58 PM

by Ben Rosario

As oil prices continue to rise, the political opposition called on government to buy back Petron as part of the effort to control the runaway prices.

Gasoline pump picture

House Deputy Minority leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate and Makabayan senatorial bet and Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares made call amid following announcement of another oil price adjustment, the seventh consecutive round of price hikes.

“Since the 15th Congress we in Bayan Muna have been filing a bill to buy back Petron along with other bills to regulate the oil industry and control petroleum prices,” said Zarate.

He stated: “ Now it is House Bill 4711 or the Renationalize Petron bill. As it is, Petron Corporation (Petron), which used to be state-owned and controlled, is currently the largest and the only publicly listed oil refining and marketing company in the Philippines and it would have a significant effect in mitigating oil price hikes.”

The bill provides that once enacted the specific policy objectives of Petron Corporation shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following:

(a) Especially for Petron’s socially and economically sensitive products, such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), naphtha, gasolines, kerosenes, automatic/industrial diesel oils, and industrial/residual fuel oils, to adopt a pricing policy that shall keep the prices of crude oil and petroleum products, sold in wholesale or retail to local consumers, as socially and economically viable as possible and as allowed by the fulfilment of the objectives of this Act; (b) To control cartel and monopoly pricing, and thus check unreasonably high prices; (c) To raise and promote the local capacity for exploration, refining and exploitation, processing, and development of petroleum;….

“If Sec. (Alfonso) Cusi is truly sincere in lowering oil prices then he should have been pushing for this bill since he became Energy secretary,” he pointed out.

As for his part Makabayan senatorial bet Neri Colmenares said that “it seems that Energy Secretary Cusi was so busy scrambling for a standard-bearer or a benchwarmer for their Presidential bet that he forgot his job of keeping prices of oil and electricity down,” “As many Filipinos lose jobs due to the pandemic, and with others just about to try and recover from the recession, the Department of Energy should be at the forefront in ensuring that utility rates are at an affordable rate,” said Colmenares.