Tuesday, March 01, 2005

NR0301: Govt oil dereg review panel just for show

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release March 1, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Chief of Staff
Email: paggawa@edsamail.com.ph, anakpawis2003@yahoo.com
Cellphone number 09213907362
Visit geocities.com/ap_news

Solon says Govt's indepent oil deregulation law review panel just for show; oil cartel seeking to kill small, independent LPG dealerships and monopolize LPG industry

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran raised an eyebrow over the Macapagal-Arroyo government's announcement of the members of the five-person, supposedly independent panel who will review the RA 8479 or the Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Law.

"How can this panel be an independent body when it's Malacanang who has handpicked the members? It's clear that this panel is not independent, and they all share the same stand supporting the oil deregulation despite its impact on the public," he said.

"This so-called independent panel cannot be expected to make recommendations that will go to the root of the problem of the relentless oil price hikes and the abuses of the oil cartel led by Shell, Caltex and Petron. There's not a single nationalist economist in the lot, neither are there members of vigilant consumers and transport groups. This government-run panel is merely for-show . Even its recommendations will go directly to the DoE for deliberations,' he said.

Energy Secretary Vince Perez has announced that the panelists are Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Carlos Alindada who also used to chair the auditing firm SGV and Co., University of Asia and the Pacific College of Economics Dean Peter Lee Yu Confederation of Land Transportation Organization of the Philippines secretary general Alberto Suansing, Petroleum Dealers Association of the Philippines president Merceditas Garcia, and former director of the defunct Petroleum Board Joey Leviste.

The review panel has been given 90 days to hold consultations with various industry stakeholders and seek their recommendations on the deregulation law.

The veteran labor leader turned lawmaker said that what the DOE in collusion with the oil cartel was actually doing was facilitating the implementation of measures that will fully put the LPG industry under the control and monopoly of Shell, Caltex and Petron. Sec. Perez has been quoted as saying that one of the main concerns of his department right now is the monitoring of local and independent LPG dealerships. "Shell, Caltex and Petron want to wipe out the local dealerships and their local brands that are cheaper. This oil deregulation law review panel will most likely make the recommendation to amend the law so that the oil cartel will gain full control over the LPG industry," he said. He pointed out that a bill is already in the finalization stages in the Committee on Energy strangling local LPG dealerships in favor of Shell, Caltex and Petron. Small oil players and small local LPG dealers have captured 40% of the LPG market share.

"This 40% share is what the oil cartel in collusion with the DoE is after," he said. He explained that RA 8749 deregulated the business of importing, exporting, reexporting, shipping, transporting, processing, refining, storing, distributing , and marketing crude oil, gasoline, diesel, LPG, kerosene and other petroleum products. "But in truth, the oil deregulation law only strengthened the oil monopoly and its predatory pricing mechanisms," he said. #


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