House leader backs DOE proposal to revisit Oil Deregulation Law

(File photo)

MANILA – The chairperson of the House of Representatives Committee on Energy on Friday supported the Department of Energy’s (DOE) recommendation to amend Republic Act 8479 or the Oil Deregulation Law to allow the unbundling of oil products amid the successive oil price hikes.

Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel Macapagal Arroyo said he has received a letter sent by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi requesting Congress to amend the Oil Deregulation Law to provide a framework for the government to intervene and address sudden, prolonged oil price hikes and require the unbundling of the cost of retail products to determine their true and the passed-on cost.

“I welcome the proposal of the DOE to amend the Oil Deregulation Law after oil prices escalated over the past eight weeks. As chairman of the House Committee on Energy, I have long pushed for a special mechanism to prevent overpricing in emergency situations. The Oil Deregulation Law does not give oil companies blanket authority to take advantage of consumers,” Arroyo said in a statement.

In the October 18 letter, Cusi cited the need to revise the law to allow the government to address the sudden or prolonged oil price spikes.

“The country is currently facing a prolonged oil price spike due to continuing rise in world market price resulting from the sudden global increase in demand and unanticipated lack of supply,” he said.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed to increase the production and supply of crude oil by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) and will meet on November 4 to reassess the situation.

Cusi said the Philippines uses about 425,000 bpd, representing only 0.4 percent of the world supply.

Arroyo said it is time to reexamine the books of oil companies to see if they are taking advantage of the crisis to rake in profits.

Cusi earlier said prices of petroleum products are expected to further increase until early next year with the current shortage in oil supply in the world market.

In a media interview, he attributed the oil price hike in the past eight weeks mainly to developments in the global market.

Global supply is still lacking about three million bpd as oil producers and exporters are only supplying 100 million bpd while the demand is at 103 million bpd.

The OPEC Plus (OPEC+) is sticking with its plan to only increase output by 400,000 bpd until April 2022 despite the rising demand as many countries are recovering from the impacts of the pandemic. (PNA)

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