THE local National Confederation of Transport Union (NCTU) in Northern Mindanao region was shocked of the recent decision of the Independent Oil Price Review Committee (IOPRC) absolving oil companies from overpricing accusations.
Joel Gabatan, NCTU’s regional coordinator, said the transport sector leaders are threatening another large street demonstration nationwide to express dismay over the “questionable decision of the review committee” and to pressure the independent body to do another investigation.
“We were shocked of the decision, but we want another investigation by the review committee. We would consult some House legislators to help us and do something about this,” Gabatan said in a radio interview Friday.
In a website report, two militant lawmakers have denounced the review committee’s decision saying the latter is “a protector and defender of oil companies.”
Based on the report of the IOPRC, oil companies are not guilty of overpricing and that the Oil Deregulation Law is working.
“(But) how can the oil companies’ profit be reasonable when they operate as a cartel that dictates the rise and fall of oil prices without so much as a squeak from government?” asked Gabriela Representative Emmi de Jesus in a website report.
“How can the Oil Deregulation Law be working when it escalates the suffering of the poor? The Oil Deregulation Law is a license for the for the oil cartel to increase oil prices with impunity and to swindle the Filipino people daily,” added De Jesus.
For his part, Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño said that the audit team’s study on oil prices and profits are “incomplete and biased as they used data voluntarily provided by the oil companies themselves.”
Casiño said the IOPRC appears not to have factored the bloated prices of oil and petroleum products in the provinces and rural areas, which are usually higher by five to seven pesos compared to prices in the National Capital Region.
The lawmaker also said that the committee did not have access to the supply contracts of the oil companies and thus could not account for the embedded profits made between the mother company and their local subsidiary.
He added that the committee apparently did not conduct an actual audit of depot inventory. Without an inventory valuation, the windfall profits from selling lower priced inventories were not considered in the study.
The lawmakers challenged the government to implement a strategic and permanent solution to high oil prices through nationalizing the oil industry “if it is truly, a government for the people.”