The proposed amendments to Republic Act No. 8479 or the “Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act of 1998” will mitigate the impact of rising prices of petroleum and fuel products and help Filipino consumers amid surging fuel prices, according to House Committee on Energy chairman and Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Macapagal Arroyo.
Arroyo’s committee approved a bill to amend RA 8479 as fuel prices continued to soar amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict that disrupted global oil supply, subjecting local fuel prices to weekly changes reflecting the highly volatile geopolitical situation in Eastern Europe.
Arroyo, who represents Pampanga’s Second District, said prices of fuel and petroleum have been increasing, triggered by the war between Russia and Ukraine. “We are faced with the bigger task of trying to mitigate the rising prices of petroleum and fuel,” said Arroyo.
“Any large adjustment in oil prices makes it difficult for businesses and consumers to adjust quickly, thereby causing disruptions,” said Arroyo.
He said there were four major reasons why the oil industry was deregulated in the first place, and these included stabilizing and providing reasonable prices; encouraging competition; encouraging investments; and removing cross-product subsidies.
Arroyo’s committee therefore approved, subject to form and style, the substitute bill that would amend RA 8479 as well as the committee report on the substitute bill. The bill of Arroyo served as the reference bill.
The bill will prevent oil companies from raising prices of old stock via changes to RA 8479. It also requires oil players to increase their minimum inventory to prevent fluctuations in local fuel prices.
The committee report substituted House Bill 10505 and House Resolution 1651 introduced by Arroyo; HB 4550 by Deputy Speaker Vilma Santos-Recto; HB 4771, HB 10386 and HR 9 by Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate; HB 5172 by Baguio City Rep. Mark Go; HB 5186 by Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta; HB 7928 by APEC Party-list Rep. Sergio Dagooc; HB 8764 by Bohol Rep. Edgar Chatto and HR 390 by Deputy Minority Leader Stella Luz Quimbo.
The proposed amendments to RA 8479 include institutionalizing the minimum inventory requirements for petroleum products for purposes of supply security and unbundling the cost of petroleum.
The panel also approved a motion for the Committee on Energy to request the President for a special session so that the bill will be approved and enacted immediately.