‘Not an internal problem, but a global issue.’
This was the stance of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi yesterday who rejected the statement that the continuous hike in the prices of oil is caused by the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.
It is an “external problem” because global oil demand is high while supply remains insufficient, he said.
In a press conference at the Northern Negros Electric Cooperative Inc. compound in Manapla, Cusi said the Department of Energy is finding ways of cushioning the increases, which are not caused by TRAIN and the excise tax on oil.
He said the oil hike is a global problem, as some countries have been producing less.
Oil firms last week increased the price of unleaded gasoline by P1.60/liter, diesel by P1.15/liter and kerosene by P1/liter.
On May 15, the price of unleaded gasoline also went up by P1.10/liter, diesel by P1.20/liter and kerosene by P0.95 per liter.
Labor and transport groups in Negros have already aired their position on increasing public transport fares amid the continuous increases in petroleum prices.
He was one of the guests at NONECO's 46th Annual General Membership Assembly yesterday, that was attended by 21,000 member-consumers at programs in Manapla and Escalante City.
"This is not an internal problem but a global problem. We are now closely monitoring the prices and to find ways of what we can do with it,” he said.
Among the reasons Cusi gave were the low oil supply coming from Venezuela, Saudi Arabia’s increasing prices of oil, and the United States of America sanction on Iran that will disrupt exports.
Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3 rd District), who was at the press conference, said TRAIN was implemented at the wrong time as it happened with the increasing oil prices globally.
"TRAIN’s implementation was wrong timing as it went with the increasing fuel prices, but there's a provision in the tax reform law that could remove the excise tax on fuel if the global price reaches $80 per barrel," he said.
"The prices now are on the threshold. If prices continue to rise, the excise tax might be removed until oil prices go down."
Rep. Carlos Roman Uybarreta (1-CARE Partylist) also said TRAIN should not be blamed as the law contributes to the growth of business and economy in the country, and is benefitting many Filipinos.
Uybarreta said the public should give a chance to the implementation of TRAIN as it has been in effect only for about four months.*MLG
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