IOPRC findings and recommendations detrimental to public interest

ANAKPAWIS Rep. Rafael Mariano said the Independent Oil Price Review Committee’s (IOPRC) findings that local oil products are not overpriced and oil companies have maintained ‘relatively lower rate of returns and profitability’ is unacceptable and unbelievable. Mariano said the IOPRC findings are skewed and detrimental to public’s interest.

“It was not an ‘independent’ review after all. The results and recommendations are biased to oil companies,” Mariano said.

“The IOPRC found oil deregulation to be successful. As far as consumers are concerned, deregulation was only successful in sealing the profit margins of oil companies and making the lives of Filipinos more miserable with unending oil price hikes.”

“Like previous reviews on the oil industry, the result of the IOPRC review was meant to justify the oil industry deregulation policy and the profiteering of oil companies. We don’t expect the review committee to recommend the junking of the oil industry deregulation law. But to say that oil companies have priced their products ‘fairly’ is an insult to the public’s awareness of oil companies’ greed and long-standing practice of unjust price adjustments,” said Mariano.

“The public may not fully understand the technicalities of the methodologies used by the IOPRC in their review. But one thing is clear – oil companies are earning multibillions at the expense of Filipino consumers and the government is allowing it. Oil companies are taking advantage of every opportunity to increase prices. Price rollbacks are few and far between and negligible compared to price hikes,” Mariano said.

According to the IOPRC, there was “nothing extraordinary” about local fuel price movements and that oil companies, particularly the Big Three and other oil players, only reflected world crude prices. But the IOPRC also admitted that oil companies have imposed an average gross margin of P6 per liter for diesel and P4 per liter for gasoline. “There is overpricing hidden somewhere,” the solon said.

Mariano challenged oil companies to open their books and subject them to public accounting. “The House Committee on Energy chaired by Rep. Henedina Abad must also look at the IOPRC’s findings. So far, the Committee did not act on various measures seeking amendments, review and repealing of the Oil Deregulation Law.”

The solon is pushing for the repeal of the Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation, the culprit of runaway oil prices.

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