THE review of the oil deregulation law will continue because expectations that fuel prices will retreat soon cannot yet be counted on to provide relief to the public, legislators said on Wednesday.
“That is a BIG IF. Even (if fuel prices fall), there is no assurance that it will not spike again in the future,” Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Isagani T. Zarate said in a Viber message.
Calls to suspend the excise taxes on fuel could be canceled if prices drop, while fuel subsidies will only continue if sectors kept being impacted by the oil price hikes, Marikina Rep. Stella Luz A. Quimbo said.
“Deregulation review, yes. We need to ensure that if world prices fall, that domestic prices will fall commensurately. That’s the purpose of the unbundling of oil prices,” Ms. Quimbo said in a Viber message.
“The suspension of excise taxes has an automatic trigger, so if prices fall below the threshold, no need (to suspend). Fuel subsidies (will continue) only if sectors continue to be affected, especially if fuel subsidies were not sufficient and distribution delayed.”
The House of Representatives is currently considering a bill that would amend the Downstream Oil Deregulation Law to prevent oil companies from increasing prices of old stocks of fuel, which were acquired when prices were lower.
The government has urged Congress to review deregulation in response to price volatility resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The Downstream Oil Deregulation Law, or Republic Act No. 8479, removed government control on the pricing, export, and import of petroleum products, allowing market forces to dictate oil prices. — Jaspearl Emerald G. Tan