By Filane Mikee Cervantes

PRICE HIKE. Motorists queue for refuel before another round of oil price hike at a gas station along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City in this June 26, 2023 photo. Speaker Martin Romualdez on Tuesday (Sept. 12, 2023) said he plans to invite officials from oil companies to find a solution or compromise to address the rising oil prices. (PNA photo by Ben Briones)

MANILA – Speaker Martin Romualdez on Tuesday said he plans to invite officials from oil companies to find ways to address the rising oil prices and give motorists a respite.

Romualdez said all stakeholders must find solutions to alleviate the plight of the people, including oil companies, in times of economic hardship.

“The government is not insensitive to the sentiments of our people, especially since this carries a domino effect on all products in the market,” Romualdez said in a statement. “We all know that once the prices of oil rise, everything else shoots up – except the wages and salaries of our workers.”

Romualdez said the high prices of oil per barrel in the world market have been dictating on rates in the domestic supply, as well as the Oil Deregulation Law that “tied the government’s hands”.

“This is one of our problems, the Oil Deregulation Law that contributed to the high prices of petroleum. It ties our hands. We don’t want to impose on them (oil firms), but we also want to know if they can help alleviate our suffering,” he said.

He also noted that the fuel sold in the market at present is either old stock or has been sitting in the inventories or depots of oil companies for months.

“It is common knowledge that oil companies still sell supplies bought at lower prices before the costs of crude oil in the world market increased. Baka pwede nating mapakiusapan sila na wag na munang magtaas ng presyo (Maybe we could request them not to increase the price),” Romualdez said.

He said tapping the oil firms for help would soften the impact of these oil price increases and make these products more affordable.

“We want to hear from them what they can do to help in this kind of situation, and if indeed they are willing to help at all because these oil price hikes have been a burden to our kababayans,”he said.

He also hinted at a review of pending bills amending the Oil Deregulation Law as a necessary step towards bringing down the prices of oil products. (PNA)