Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo (LP, Quezon City) today expressed dismay over the inability of local oil firms toroll back immediately prices of pump-in petroleum products and said urged them to lower their prices by at leastP5 per liter.
“While they raise their petroleum prices at the slightest indication of an increase in the world market.the domestic oil firms have been very slow to roll back their prices when world oil prices decline steadily,” Castelo said.Castelo said local oil firms, especially the three largest, which include Petron, Pilipinas Shell, and Exxon, shouldlower their petroleum products by at least P5 since Brent crude oil prices have plunged to below P99 per barrel inthe world market from a high of P127 per barrel in April last year. Also, US crude oil has reached P77 per barrel.Oil prices have been steadily declining in the world market as a result of the downgrade of the US credit rating,raising fears of a global economic depression in the coming weeks. Their new prices have declined below whatwere described as their “comfort zone” level of prices.
Citing press reports, Castelo said local independent petroleum producers, led by Chevron, have lowered theirpump-in petroleum products by an average of 50 centavos to P1, but this was an initiative that has yet to beemulated by the three biggest local oil firms.
At the rate prices of crude oil have been declining in the world market, Castelo said the oil price rollback shouldbe a minimum of P5 per liter, saying “this is the realistic level.”
While conceding that the oil deregulation law has explicitly subjected prices of local petroleum products to“market forces,” Castelo urged local oil producers to follow the law and acknowledge the market dynamics.
According to Castelo, failure to acknowledge the market forces virtually renders the oil deregulation lawmeaningless, allowing the domestic oil firms to become “greedy” in amassing more profits at the expense of theFilipino people. 30