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Gov’t urged: Find ways to cushion impact of oil price hikes

A Davao del Norte-based consumer group has called on government to study all options to prevent the continued rise in prices of petroleum products.

Ave Rose A. Castillo, DavNor Modernization Movement convenor, said all alternatives must be looked into thoroughly because any wrong move on the part of government will definitely worsen the economic situation.

“We know the domino effects that adjustments in oil prices have practically on all sectors. Any move must be first meticulously looked into not only because of the repercussions to prices of goods, but mainly because the economy of the country has yet to completely recover from the impact of the pandemic,” Castillo, adding that any prolonged inaction on the part of government “will result in a huge burden especially on ordinary consumers.”

She added that prices of basic commodities have started to rise, while drivers and operators of public utility vehicles have complained about the losses that they have incurred as a result of the indiscriminate increase in prices of petroleum products.

Last week, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles said President Rodrigo Duterte has joined those calling on Congress to review the Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act of 1998, particularly provisions on unbundling of the price as well as the inclusion of the minimum inventory requirements.

Nograles added the President also wants Congress to authorize government to intervene “when there is a spike and/or prolonged increase of prices of oil products.

On Monday night, the President, in a recorded message, said he is planning to call on Congress to hold a special session to find ways to address the impact particularly of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine which, among other factors, also affects the movement of prices in petroleum products.

Another proposal to address the continued rise in prices of oil products is the reduction, if not complete scrapping of, of excise tax on these products as specified under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law.

Under the four-year old law, P10 is imposed as excise tax on a liter of gasoline, P6 per liter of diesel and P5 per liter of kerosene.

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