Press Release
September 22, 2011

Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter S. Cayetano
Kapihan sa Senado Transcipt

Re: Oil Price Hikes

Q: Mukhang ang flavor of the month ngayon ay protest on fare rates--the high prices of transportation. Why is it that every time the oil companies up their prices, you always hear something from the DOE, saying that that's too much, yet the DOE has done nothing, really to look into the pricing scheme of these oil companies?

It's either okay or not okay. Madaling-madali na malaman kung overpriced o underpriced, o tama ang presyo ng langis at mga produktong galing sa langis. Paano po? Buksan ang libro ng oil companies.

Bakit po kapag magbabasa ka ng business page, ang makikita mo, record high palagi ang profits ng tatlong oil companies. Kapag sa SEC, lalo sa mga listed ang Petron, ang kanilang shares pataas dahil record daw ang kanilang profits.

Pero bakit tuwing magfa-file sila sa DOE, ang sinasabi naman nila, lugi kaya kailangan ng recovery. Anong klaseng recovery ang mayroon kapag record profits ka palagi. Ngayon, ang debate palagi, at naaakusahan palagi ang DOE na nagsasalita ka pero para kang nag-aabogado sa tatlong oil companies.

I'm not referring to this administration only. In the past 20 years, naririnig ko palagi 'yan, every DOE administration.

Resolution will be filed asking the appropriate Senate Committee to open the books of oil companies in aid of legislation

But if you look at the law, ang sinasabi ng batas, pwede talagang tingnan at pwedeng magkaroon ng inspection sa mga libro. But we know that if the DOE doesn't want to do this in public, Congress can do it.

That's why we're drafting a resolution--I have the first draft with me now, and we're going to file it on Monday--asking the appropriate senate committee to open the books of these oil companies in aid of legislation. At kung kailangan na COA o reputable audit firm would help us so that we can satisfy ourselves whether or not the oil companies are overpricing.

Hindi ko makita kung bakit sa radyo, telebisyon magdedebate ang spokesmen at representatives ng oil companies at ang gobyerno at consumer groups, pero hindi magkasundo sa numero.

Sasabihin ng oil companies bagong binili kaya kailangan itaas ang presyo, at sasabihin lugi. Pero sinasabi naman ng consumer groups, hindi. Napakasimple ng solusyon. Buksan natin ang libro at kung walang itinatago, bakit matatakot?

First: on the part of Oil Companies, open the books; Second: on the part of the government, find ways to lower the price

Let's remember na hindi purely private ang serbisyo ng mga oil companies, because it affects public interest at ang ating ekonomiya. Don't get me wrong. May problema din ang gobyerno. Next time I will discuss with you the proposals on the VAT or on the tax side of the oil prices.

I think dalawa 'yan. 'Yung issue ng transparency para mabuksan ang libro. After that, the issue of how to bring the prices down.

Ano ang part ng private sector para mapababa? Ano ang part ng gobyerno para mapababa? Hindi lang naman ang private oil companies ang nagpapataas ng presyo. Pati naman gobyerno dahil mataas masyado ang buwis.

But let me tell you, there are countries, especially Asian countries, like Thailand, who are thinking of completely removing the taxes on oil products to get the economy going.

Halimbawa, sa kuryente, pinakamataas tayo sa Asia. And it's deterrence for businesses coming in. At yung oil prices at yung toll vat, tumataas ang presyo, tumataas ang pamasahe and everything. May chain reaction.

The debates will never end and the consumer groups will never win, and the government will never be able to implement kung hindi nabubuksan ang mga libro.

DOE is saying na binubuksan nila at sinasabi ng DOE ang presyo ay either ok o hindi. So we'll also invite them and ask and look into their analysis. We have resident experts on that. For example, Ralph Recto when he was in NEDA, he was fighting for our rights in oil prices. He has a good handle on how to compute all of these.

I think the Senate will be in the best position to have an objective look at the books of the oil companies. And to find out once and for all if they are overpricing or are making too much profit.

We believe in capitalism. We believe in free market. Naniniwala ako na nag-invest sila ng pera kaya kailangan kumita sila. Hindi ko lang kasi makita 'yung logic na parati nilang sinasabi na nalulugi kaya kailangan itaas, tapos sasabihin nila record ang kanilang profits. Hindi ko ma-reconcile ang dalawang 'yon kaya ang tingin ko kailangan buksan ang libro.

Oil Companies claim necessity of increasing prices yet their profits are skyrocketing

Petron posted a net income of P5.4B in the first nine months in 2010 which they said was up by 59%. That shows my point. Nung gobyerno ang may-ari ng Petron, ano ba ang mas importante, kumita ang isang GOCC mo o mababa yung presyo ng langis para may competition? There are 1001 solutions. I am not saying that right now I am in favor of the government buying back Petron and using it as a competitive tool versus the two other companies to drive down prices. That needs real study but it is a possible solution. My point is that if we open their books and see that tama talaga na P5.4B ang profit for 9 months, first three quarters up talaga by 59% ano yung sinasabi nila na need for recovery?

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