No oil supply problem in Philippines, but rising prices prompt call for review

The Department of Energy undersecretary asked for a review to better allow the government to intervene when prices spike.

Christia Marie Ramos

Christia Marie Ramos

Philippine Daily Inquirer


FILE PHOTO A man fills up a motorcycle gas tank at a gasoline station in East Avenue, Quezon City on February 21, 2022. Another fuel price hike is expected in the coming days among main gasoline companies. INQUIRER PHOTO / NINO JESUS ORBETA

March 8, 2022

MANILA — There is still enough supply of oil products in the country, but rising pump prices calls for need to review the oil deregulation law, the Department of Energy (DOE) told lawmakers on Monday.

“Wala ho tayong problema sa supply [We have no problem with supply],” DOE Undersecretary Gerardo Erguiza said during the meeting of the House Fuel Crisis ad hoc committee.

“More than 40 days pa po ang nasa inventory pa natin. Ang problema ho natin sa presyo. Pero yung quantity wala po tayong problema,” he added.

(We have more than 40 days worth of supply in our inventory. Our problem is the price. But for the quantity, we have no problem.)

Erguiza also reiterated the call of Malacañang to review the provisions of Republic Act 8479, or the Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act of 1998 in order to give the government “intervention powers” during a prolonged spike in fuel prices amid the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

The law removes government control so that oil firms may become more competitive with their supply and pricing of petroleum products.

“Ang gusto lang namin…yung government intervention sa pagtaas. Kasi ang problema po natin talaga dito, the root of all these problems is the Oil Deregulation law,” the DOE official told the House meeting.

(What we want is to allow government intervention when prices spike up. Because the problem here is, the root of all these problems is the Oil Deregulation law.)

“That’s why we’re going to Congress to look into this law… Ang Oil Deregulation law po, na-privatize na ang sektor ng oil natin,” he added.

(That’s why we’re going to Congress to look into this law… The Oil Deregulation law privatized our oil industry.)

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