Local News: Vladi Gonzalez Decries the National Government’s ‘Silence’ on Fuel Hike Issue
Businessman Vladimir Gonzalez, in a statement sent to Negros Daily Bulletin yesterday fully supports the protest action of various sectors gathered at the Fountain of Justice (City Hall of Bacolod) by blaming the national government for its negligence in explaining and regulating the never-ending fuel price hikes.
Instead, Gonzales said, "What we hear are Malacañang statements referring to their `Pantawid Pasada’ program which is limited and short of covering the successive price hikes now hovering around P0.90 since January 2012 depending on world market prices of crude oil."
"We always hear this `world market price’ thing, unfortunately, none of us fully understands how this is computed and the national government does not exert efforts to apprise the Filipino people of their formula," he added.
Gonzalez stressed that the Filipino people needs to be prepared by making people understand these global factors that affect fuel price increases and that the national government should have a clear plan and road map on how to get the suffering poor from the domino effects of fuel price increases.
He deplored that until today, government has nothing to offer but its "Pantawid Pasada" which is a band-aid solution that benefits a few and which is a recycled program patterned after the Oil Price Stabilization Fund (OPSF) which government itself already abolished in 1998, only to be revived today.
Despite being too late now, Gonzalez bats for a comprehensive review of the Oil Deregulation Law and all related legislations particularly the mandate of the Energy Regulatory Commission’s (ERC) regulatory powers even under the deregulated market for fuel and other imported fuel products.
In fact, he said, Philippine-based oil companies are evidently behaving as an oligopoly, thus the need for ERC to be in the forefront to manage successive fuel price hikes.
He agrees with the statement of Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casiño that the projected P26B windfall revenues from the VAT on oil for 2012 is "an unjust and oppressive burden on the people that has no place in a government that professes to be for the poor."
Casiño last March 14 in a press release said, "The Aquino government should forego this gigantic windfall, which is gained in exchange for the suffering of the people. Consumers need immediate and concrete relief, and the president should listen. The estimated immediate reduction in the pump price of diesel if the VAT on oil is removed is almost P6 per liter; almost P7 per liter for gasoline; and as much as P110 per an 11-kg tank for LPG."
Together with the protest of various groups yesterday, Gonzalez calls on the Negros Congressmen to fast-track various bills they filed related to deregulation and imposition of VAT.*