Blame FVR for oil dereg

ORIGINALLY declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, the Oil Deregulation Law of 1988 was conceived by then President Fidel V. Ramos and his allies in the Senate and the House of Representatives to “ensure a truly competitive market under a regime of fair prices, adequate and continuous supply of environmentally-clean and high quality petroleum products.”

However, the so-called regime of fair prizes promised by Ramos and his political allies, resulted in a never-ending series of oil price increases that jacked up to nearly P50 per liter at one time or another.

This week, oil prices increased by P1.50 per liter for gasoline and by P1.40 for diesel, the 12th time in a matter of four months and the present government feels utterly helpless about it.

This is because under RA 8479 now neatly called the “Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act of 1998,” the government is prohibited by law to interfere with any market aspect of the oil industry, including pricing, import and export processes and facilities and the establishment of retailers and refineries.

There is no clear attempt to repeal the law for reasons that government earns from the oil price increases in terms of taxes the petroleum companies pay. This is also the same reason why the Value Added Tax Law, many times revised and expanded, will never be repealed let alone tempered because it is the goose that lays the golden eggs for lazy governments.

The oil deregulation law and the value added tax are impositions of governments, including that of the Philippines, to balance the national budget which is eternally in deficit owing to their insatiable appetite to over spend the people’s money.

Now, in this administration, we are being threatened with nervous breakdowns over the political unrest in the Middle East and Africa saying the turmoil would farther raise oil prices to over $100 a barrel or face the consequences of dried oil refineries in the Philippines. Raul Valino


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