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Workers slam oil deregulation

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A JEEPNEY driver waits at a gasoline station in Pasay City. — PHILIPPINE STAR/KRIZ JOHN ROSALES

LABOR activists on Sunday expressed support for public transport groups that protest against the country’s oil deregulation law, citing it as a key factor in the continuous surge in the prices of petroleum products in the country.

Enacted in 1998 to encourage competition and lower prices, the oil deregulation law has failed, according to Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) secretary general Jerome Adonis. “Five administrations have passed since this law was enacted, but protests are still ongoing… we already did several forms of protest, including raising a petition in Congress, but nothing has changed,” he said in an interview.

Mr. Adonis claimed that instead of encouraging market competition, the law resulted in a few big companies controlling the prices of oil.

In a Viber message, Infrawatch PH Convenor Terry Ridon called for a review of the legislation, emphasizing the need to dissect oil prices for transparency on potential overpricing in the sector.

“A particular aspect to the review is the call for the unbundling of oil prices, to allow regulators and consumers to see whether or not there actual is actual overpricing in the sector,” said Mr. Ridon.

Mr. Adonis said deregulation has given excessive control to petroleum companies, resulting in a 14-time increase in oil prices from July 11 to Nov. 21, claiming that diesel and gasoline prices could have been P40 and P33 lower, respectively, without overcharging by petroleum companies. — Jomel R. Paguian

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