Herbert urges gov’t to take back Petron, control oil prices
UNITEAM senatorial candidate Herbert “Bistek” Bautista on Thursday pushed his proposal for the government to buy back oil firm Petron to have a vehicle in pushing fuel prices down when these tend to go out of control.
“In the long term, I think we really need to get back Petron,” Bautista said.
He said buying back Petron would allow the government to compete with private fuel dealers when prices are unstable.
“They will all go to us, those refueling would go to the government because it’s less expensive,” Bautista said.
Bautista made the statement as government policymakers scramble to find solutions to tame fuel prices amid the ongoing invasion by Russia of Ukraine, a conflict that has sent oil prices spiraling.
“That’s [an] indirect subsidy to the total chain of gasoline users, isn’t it?,” said Bautista, who implemented alleviation programs to ease fuel price increases as mayor of Quezon City for 3 terms.
“That means prices of other goods would not go up,” said Bautista. “Transport fare won’t go up because prices of gasoline are low,” he said.
“I think that’s one of the best ways,” said Bautista, who is no. 8 on the ballot in the senatorial race and is running on a platform of Internet reform, Livelihood for all, and Youth development, or “ILY”.
He said he has information that the Department of Energy (DOE), through energy chief Alfonso Cusi, and tycoon Ramon Ang, who now owns Petron through his San Miguel conglomerate, had already initially discussed the possibility of the government buying back the oil company.
Bautista said alongside efforts to buy back Petron, the government should also consider reviving the Oil Price Stabilization Fund (OPSF), which was scrapped when the oil industry was deregulated.
“If worse comes to worst and the private sector can’t cope anymore with high gas and oil prices, the OPSF would have funds to give help directly,” said Bautista.
Oil prices soared way past $100 per barrel as a result of the Russian-Ukraine war, sending gas prices surging worldwide. In the Philippines, motorists were told to brace for a price increase of as much as P5 per liter of fuel.