Left hits GMA for leaving people “defenseless” against oil price hike

The oil price shocks happening worldwide are pushing more and more Filipinos into abject poverty, the groups said. 

In a joint press statement issued today, the leftist lawmakers accused the Arroyo government of only putting up a show when it blamed the monopoly oil companies and said it cannot stop oil prices from skyrocketing.

“This shows that Arroyo is beholden to the interests of the oil cartels and is not prepared to address the energy crisis we are facing,” the statement said.

Records showed that since the oil industry was deregulated by the Ramos government in April 1996, oil companies have hiked pump prices of all petroleum products by around 535%. 

Oil companies and Malacañang had already announced that fuel prices will still go up by P4 a liter before Christmas.

The statement warned more hikes will come in 2008, saying government cannot do anything outside of “ineffective measures such as an automatic tariff mechanism that does not stop the price hikes nor ensure fair price adjustments.”

“We are therefore pushing for a 3-bill package that shall give government the teeth to loosen the tight grip of foreign monopoly oil companies on oil prices and to provide the people the much needed relief from incessant oil price hikes,” the legislators said

They called on consumers and various sectors to support “proposed measures that are tangible, long-term solutions that will mitigate the impact of skyrocketing oil prices, including House Bill 3029, an act regulating the downstream petroleum industry.”

They also wooed support for House Bill 3030, which seeks to institute a centralized procurement of petroleum in the country, and House Bill 3031 which aims to reacquire majority government stake in Petron Corporation.

They said the bills, filed on Nov. 6, are “bold and concrete steps to address the problematic oil industry squarely and regulate oil price increases in the country if immediately passed into law.”

Reports from the United Nations showed that the Philippines is among the countries that are most vulnerable to oil price shocks because of its heavy dependence on imported oil. (MindaNews)