While the Philippine government has projected significant impacts over several “big-time” oil price rollbacks, the net increase in the price of petroleum products remained at its peak.
During the first quarter of 2022, many Filipinos took a heavy toll on the eleven consecutive weeks of oil price surge which peaked on March 15 with a total net increase of P20.35/liter for gasoline, P30.65/liter for diesel and P24.90/liter for kerosene.
The highest account was on June 28 with a total net increase of P30.00 per liter for gasoline, P45.90 per liter for diesel and P39.75 per liter for kerosene.
Ramon Ang’s wealth
In the first half of 2022, Petron has accumulated a consolidated net income of P7.7 billion, double its earnings since last year’s figure of P3.87 billion. The corporation claimed that they are “the only remaining refinery continued to emerge stronger from the pandemic.”
“Tapos sabi pa nila, nalulugi pa sila? Kasi maliit daw ang 7.7 billion. Ito ay nagsasalamin lamang sa patuloy na pagtatakip ng mga kumpanya ng langis sa laki ng kanilang kinikita kasi kung kumikita sila ng ganyan kalaki ay tumatabo pa ng tubo mula sa kanilang kapital, at parang di na nila alam saan pa nila ilalagay ang kanilang tubo,” said PISTON national chairperson Mody Floranda.
[And now they said they are still losing money? Saying that 7.7 billion is only small. Well, this just shows a continuing coverup among oil companies with regard to the actual amount of their income, that while they earn even further, they still make a profit from their capital and it seemed as if they don’t know where else to put their profit]
Floranda questioned this San Miguel Corporation-owned fuel company regarding its claims of “losing money” because Petron continues to expand and increase its branches.
In an analysis made by PISTON, oil companies profit a huge P882 to P972 million per day since the spike in oil prices this year. Floranda mentioned that Filipinos take the toll of the oil price crisis by consuming more than 18 million liters on a daily basis while there has been an increase of P54 per liter for diesel and P49 per liter for gasoline and kerosene since January 2022.
PISTON further lambasted the usual reasoning of oil companies like Petron, Shell, Chevron, Caltex, and several others regarding the oil price hikes due to the continuing war between Ukraine and Russia. Floranda noted that oil companies have only cartelized, monopolized, and made excuses to further drive up the prices through speculation, withholding, and hoarding of excess supply.
Below are the list of big oil companies that recently reported their high earnings in second quarter profits:
- Exxon Mobil Corp, earning $17.9 billion which exceeded its 2008 record by $3 billion, and almost four times the $4.69 billion profit during the same period last year.·
- Chevron Corp, accounting its profit of $11.6 billion, twice its previous record in 2008, and nearly four times its $3.1 billion profit in the same period last year.
- Shell, making $11.59 billion, twice its $5.5 billion profits during the same period in 2021.
- Total Energie, profiting $5.8 billion, more than twice as much as the same period last year.
Accordingly, Chinese oil refiners like China Petroleum and Chemical Corp., which is the biggest oil refinery in Asia, has been one of the main suppliers of diesel and other petroleum products to the Philippines.
It must be noted that the weekly domestic increases in fuel price was partly affected by the said Ukraine-Russia war when in fact, most of the local subsidiaries of oil companies import refined petroleum products from China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and other countries.
Needless to say, at least that was Fidel V. Ramos legacy especially when he enacted the Oil Deregulation Law in 1995.
Fidel V. Ramos legacy
The Oil Deregulation Law or Republic Act 8479 allowed price adjustments put up by private oil companies without public consultations.
As a matter of fact, the government has privatized or sold to private companies its oil refineries and companies, like Petron which was under the management of San Miguel Corporation in 2009, or the Malampaya gas project along with Chevron and Shell in which Dennis Uy who is one of Duterte’s close allies, and Enrique Razon who is an ardent supporter of Marcos Jr. have bought the majority of its shares. Razon even planned to continue expanding the oil and gas production area beyond the Malampaya contract in 2024.
This in return has only left the people to deal with the price dictates of monopolizing private companies or businessmen with close ties to political personalities.
Many also lambasted the additional taxes due to TRAIN Law or Republic Act 10963 signed by Duterte in 2017. With this law in effect, excise taxes reached P6 per liter of diesel, P5.65 per liter of gasoline, P5 per liter of kerosene and P3 per kilo of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Accordingly, such a tax increase is responsible for 25% of the total price increase of petroleum products.
It was the first of four tax packages under Duterte’s Comprehensive Tax Reform Program. The government touted the lower personal income tax provision of the law, but many condemned how higher consumption taxes add even more burden even to the poorest of the poor.
“Patuloy ang ating panawagan sa lahat na kailangang kumibo at labanan ang ganitong mga kalakaran, dahil kung hindi natin ito haharapin at magpapatuloy lamang ang pagbulusok ang kabuhayan ng mga drayber. Bagamat tatlong linggo na ang pagbaba sa presyo ng petrolyo, aabot sa P15 ang nabawas kada diesel. Pero kulang ito dahil umaabot pa rin sa P76 ang diesel at P75 ang sa gasolina,” said Floranda.
[We continue to call on everyone to take action and fight against these repressing issues, because if we don’t deal with it, many drivers will continue to suffer. Although it has been three weeks since the drop in the price of gasoline, the price of diesel has been reduced by P15. But this is insufficient because diesel still reaches P76 and gasoline by P75]
According to Floranda, the people must condemn the inutility of the current administration at the helm of Marcos Jr. alongside the energy department.
“Ang magpapabago at magbabasura sa oil deregulation law, EVAT, TRAIN law, ay sa pamamagitan ng determinasyon at sama samang pagkilos ng mamamayan. Ang epekto naman ng pagtaas ng petrolyo ay apektado ang buo partikular ang mga manggagawa. Bagamat nagtaas ng P33 ang sahod bago nawala sa posisyon si Duterte pero di hamak na napakababa pa nito sa tunay na pangangailangan ng mga manggagawa,” he added.
[What will change and repeal the oil deregulation law, EVAT, TRAIN law, is through the determination and collective action of the people. The effect of the increase in oil prices is affecting the whole, especially the workers. That while the salary increased by P33 before Duterte lost his position, it is still far below the true needs of the workers]
National Capital Region chapters of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan alongside Kilusang Mayo push for a P203 wage increase across all boards to help various sectors alleviate their dire situation amid these trying times, given the hikes on petroleum, food, and basic commodities.