“We will try to find a win-win solution for our people and, of course, those in the oil industry.”
This was the declaration made by Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Sunday ahead of the consultative meeting between him and big oil players, together with the officials of the House Committee on Energy and Department of Energy, at 3 p.m. Monday afternoon at the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City.
“No one is spared from the ill effects of the high cost of living due to oil price hikes. Everyone is struggling. But this is beyond anyone’s control. If the price of crude oil in the world market increases, so do prices in the rest of the world,” Speaker Romualdez, the leader of the 311-member House of Representatives, said.
“But we want to sit down with these oil companies and discuss ways or suggestions on how we can alleviate the hardships of our fellow countrymen due to the constant rise in petroleum prices, and find
common ground in areas that are within our control,” he added.
As of 12 in the afternoon Sunday, invited to attend the consultative meeting were leaders of the House Committee on Energy, DoE officials led by Undersecretary Sharon Garin, and Mia Delos Reyes of Petron
Corporation, Timothy James Laurel of Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., Tanya Samillano and Romina Antonio of the Independent Philippine Petroleum Companies Association (IPPCA), and representatives from Chevron Philippines, Inc., Philippine Institute of Petroleum (PIP), Flying V, and Total Philippines Corp.
The solution, the chief of the House of Representatives said, can come from a united front of all stakeholders – oil companies and the government included.
“On our part in the government, we can compromise … perhaps what we can initially offer is a possible review of excise tax or value-added tax on oil and petroleum products. This is a good place to start,”
Speaker Romualdez noted.
“Also, one possibility to look at is suspending the collection of excise taxes or VAT on oil and petroleum products, depending on the Palace’s plan after hearing our report of the result of this meeting,”
Meanwhile, Speaker Romualdez is also planning to talk to canned goods and basic food manufacturers, as well as the supermarket association, after hinting that they, too, are planning to raise the prices of
common goods with the series of oil price hikes.
“We will attempt to convince them to at least postpone their plans, if there are any, until after Christmas in the spirit of the Yuletide season. Masyadong mabigat sa bulsa ang sabay-sabay na pagtaas ng mga
bilihin kasabay ng pagtaas ng presyo ng krudo,” Speaker Romualdez said.
“Nauunawaan naman namin na maging sila ay apektado. But we will appeal o their sense of compassion and ask them if they can find a way to manage until Christmas,” Speaker Romualdez further stated.
The Leyte House leader said the government is doing its best to alleviate the situation of the people, “but what we are experiencing is a world crisis.”
“That’s why various agencies are ready to provide assistance because the government also feels the people’s predicaments,” the lawmaker added.