Transport groups seek repeal of Oil Deregulation Law, removal of VAT on oil products

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/20 July) — Two transport groups here renewed calls for the scrapping of the Oil Deregulation Law in the wake of another round of increase in the prices of fuel products.

Both the National Confederation of Transport Workers Union (NCTU) and the Solidarity of Transport Alliance in Region 10 (StareX) also called on the national government to install oil price control mechanisms.

NCTU is an affiliate of the Alliance of Progressive Labor, and StareX of Kilusang Mayo Uno’s Pinag-isang Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston)

Last Tuesday, Pilipinas Shell raised their prices of diesel by P1.10, regular gasoline by P0.60, unleaded gasoline by P0.30 and kerosene by P1 per liter. Barely six hours after, the other oil companies followed suit with similar price increases.

This oil price hike is the second this month.

In a text message, Joel Gabatan, NCTU Mindanao coordinator said that if the national government can regulate the telecommunications industry which is also market-driven like oil, it can do the same with the oil industry.

“The interest of the public is at stake. We reiterate our position that there should be regulation in (the) oil industry to protect consumers and the entire public,” Gabatan said.

“Oil deregulation law should be reversed and oil price control mechanisms must be explored and immediately implemented,” he added.

For his part, Santiago Hinosolango, secretary general of StareX-Piston, in a phone interview Tuesday criticized the national government’s “palliative” approach to the spate of oil price increases by subsidizing the petrol consumption of public utility vehicle operators.

“What is needed is for government to remove the value-added tax on oil products and for government to play a more active role in the oil industry by buying back Petron,” Hinosolango said.

“More importantly, government should scrap Republic Act 8479 (Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act of 1998) since it has not achieved what it aims to do, which is to invite other players in the market that would bring oil prices down,” he added. (Cong B. Corrales/MindaNews)