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Gloria, oil firms ganging up on Filipino people with EO 839 and Oil Deregulation Law – ANAKBAYAN

June 5, 2010

Nov. 13, 2009

Youth group ANAKBAYAN today blasted the Arroyo Administration for lifting Executive Order 839, or commonly referred to as the price freeze order while maintaining the Oil Deregulation Law.

ANAKBAYAN chairperson Ken Ramos said that the lifting of the order was proof of what his group has been saying all along: that the Order would ultimately benefit the local oil cartel instead of consumers.

“As long as the Oil Deregulation Law is in effect, and the government fails to nationalize the oil industry, measures such as the EO839 would eventually be stricken down. The EO 839 and the Oil Deregulation Law is a ‘one-two punch combination’ which would ‘knock-out’ consumers with bigger oil price hikes in the near future,” Ramos said.

Yesterday, Mrs. Arroyo declared that she will remove the three-week-old oil price ceiling as recommended by the Department of Energy and the Department of Justice Task Force.

“EO 839 has been flawed from the very start. It legitimizes the overpricing done by oil companies, thus allowing them to demand for more price hikes as soon as the order is lifted” he added.

He said that by citing a natural calamity as the rationale of the price ceiling, instead of overpricing, the government virtually gave its ‘blessing’ to the P5.48 average overpricing of oil firms on their products.

“Instead of helping ease the burden of the poor, the EO actually laid the groundwork for bigger oil price hikes in the region of P4.00-5.00 per liter, or even P8.00 per liter”. Ramos explained that since the overpricing was legitimized by the order, oil companies could claim incurring losses during the duration of the price ceiling.

“Amidst all of Arroyo’s bluster on battling the oil cartel, what we actually experience is a collusion between the two. She virtually gave the cartels new reasons to squeeze out of the people every last centavo of their earnings.”

Meanwhile, Ramos also blasted the proposal of oil firms to provide discounts in stations located at areas heavily affected by the past calamities, saying that they would simply hike pump prices in other areas to regain the super-profits that they would lost with the discounts. “This move is mere talk of the oil companies to give them some sort of credence in being pro-people. What they lose in profits in one place will simply be passed on to another area. Which is exactly what the people in Visayas and Mindanao experienced recently,” Ramos added.

“If the oil companies are really serious in helping the people, they should be willing to incur losses for the general welfare. And if Mrs. Arroyo genuinely wants what is right, then foreign and private monopoly on oil should be broken,” Ramos said.

Lastly, Ramos reiterated the need for nationalizing the domestic oil industry, including a centralized procurement system of crude oil to take advantage of prices between competing suppliers. He said this would be a way to avoid the overpricing done through the collusion of a local oil firm and its mother company. ###

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