Press Release
September 26, 2011

Cayetano: First, oil companies should open their books;
second, government should find ways to lower oil prices

Senate minority leader Alan Peter Cayetano reiterated his call for transparency to help resolve the contentious issue of whether the levels of increases and decreases in fuel pump prices by oil companies are fair and reasonable.

The senator said this can only be achieved by the opening and examining of the books of oil companies by the government as provided by the oil deregulation law.

Cayetano noted that oil companies are among those who report the highest annual revenues yet they are adamant in refusing to lower their prices further.

"They always claim that they will lose revenue if they lower their prices," he said.

The senator, however, opted not to pass judgment on whether the oil companies are right or wrong and instead challenged the Aquino administration to implement policies that will promote more transparency in the determination of pump prices. "The aim is simply to protect and promote the welfare of the consumers", he added.

By looking into the books of the oil companies, consumers are assured that oil companies earn fair return on their investment and operations and fuel pump prices are not grossly overpriced to their detriment.

As we've always said," Cayetano said in Filipino, "If they have nothing to hide then they have nothing to fear."

The minority leader also bared plans to file a resolution asking the appropriate Senate committee to open the books of oil companies in aid of legislation.

"If you look at the law, it says that there can be an inspection of the oil companies' books. But if DOE does not want to do this in public, Congress can do it," he said.

He also called on the government to find alternative ways to lower the price of fuel suggesting that the country follow in the footsteps of other Asian countries like Thailand.

"In Thailand, they are thinking of completely removing taxes on oil products to get the economy moving. It is not just the private companies who are driving prices up. The government, through high taxes, also shares part of the blame," he said.

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