Protest set to condemn report
September 5, 2012
Multisectoral group Coalition Against Oil Price Increases (Caopi) today criticized the report by a supposedly independent panel formed by the Department of Energy (DOE) for absolving the oil firms of overpricing and promoting further deregulation, including on the setting of public transport fares.
Caopi said that the panel headed by UP economics professor and former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno is insensitive to the plight of ordinary consumers, commuters and motorists, even as it questioned the supposed independence of the body tasked to determine whether oil firms are raking excessive profits by taking advantage automatic price adjustments under the Oil Deregulation Law.
Meanwhile, members of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), one of the groups behind Caopi, will troop to the main office of the DOE in Taguig City tomorrow (Sep. 6) to condemn the report and renew its demand to repeal the Oil Deregulation Law.
“The panel fails to appreciate the impact of oil price hikes on the poor. Its so-called independence is clearly compromised by its mouthing of the government line that deregulation is acceptable,” said UP Professor Danilo Arao, spokesperson of Caopi.
The DOE set up the Independent Oil Price Review Committee (IOPRC) to probe persistent allegations of unfair pricing in pump prices and excessive profits by the oil companies. Members of CAOPI have earlier expressed fears that the IOPRC, like past efforts to review the Oil Deregulation Law and pricing practices of oil firms, could end up justifying the deregulation policy.
“Our fears have been confirmed. Worse, the panel is not only upholding the Oil Deregulation Law but is also pushing to deregulate the public transport sector, a similar proposal made by past reviews. Doble-dobleng pasanin na ito para sa mamamayan,” Arao added.
Caopi vowed to continue its campaign to repeal the Oil Deregulation Law and end the abusive practices of oil firms. It also said that it’s doing its own study on the deregulation policy and pricing practices of oil firms and will disclose the results once the IOPRC has publicly released its full report. #