Thursday, April 20, 2006

It's high time to repeal EPIRA, oil deregulation law

From the Office of Anakpawis Representative Crispin B. Beltran
Lisa C. Ito, Public Information Officer (+63)927.796.7006
Tel. # (+632) 426-9442 Email:
URL: http://

April 20, 2004

Beltran urges Congress amidst soaring oil prices:
It's high time to repeal EPIRA, oil deregulation law

At this time of soaring oil prices, the government should ensure the passage of laws curbing foreign monopoly control on oil and privatization of our fuel resources, Anakpawis Congressman Crispin Beltran said today.

Beltran renewed his call for the prioritization and passage of House Bills (HBs) 1065 and 2530, both pending at the Committee on Energy for nearly a year since May 4, 2005. Beltran is the principal author of the both HBs.

HB 1065, perhaps the shortest bill on record with only two sections, seeks to repeal Republic Act (RA) 8479 or the Oil Deregulation Law of 1998. Its comprehensive explanatory note, however, argues that the deregulation of the downstream oil industry has enabled the existing big oil companies in the Philippines to develop into a profit-driven cartel, manipulating and overpricing gasoline and other petroleum products in the market to the detriment of the public.

HB 2530, meanwhile, aims to repeal RA 9136 or the Electric Industry Reform Act of 2001 (filed on August 20, 2004), in light of its detrimental effects on consumers and the national economy due to the institutionalization of private monopoly control by local electric monopolies and their independent power producers (IPPs) and foreign IPPs.

Beltran renewed his calls for the passage of the two HBs in light of the approval of Senate Bill No. 2226, or the proposed Biofuels Act of 2006 aiming to reduce the country's dependence on imported oil through the use of bio-fuels.

"It's not just enough to pass legislation mandating the domestic use of locally-produced fuels. The government should ensure that monopoly control and profit-driven production take a back seat to providing affordable energy sources to the Filipino people. Are we really interested in providing cheap and accessible fuel sources for local use? Or is this administration more interested in seeking alternative fuel sources to sell to foreign corporations and investors?" Beltran said.

Beltran cautioned that "ultimately, big foreign corporations making profits out of local alternative fuel sources will not result in cheaper and more democratic energy sources for the Filipino people".

"Our bitter and literally costly experiences with the overpricing of foreign oil companies and foreign-owned independent power producers should teach us that we should prioritize national interest and the local consumers over that of foreign or elite interests," Beltran said.

"HBs 1065 and 2530 are among the proposed laws that will clear the rubble of profit-driven energy distribution and can help set the parameters for an equitable peoples' fuel production and distribution policy," Beltran said.

Beltran issued the statement while in detention at Camp Crame's General Hospital. He is currently awaiting the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 137's go signal for his transfer to a hospital of his choice for further medical monitoring and care. ###


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