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Big 3 oil firms open to BIR auditing - House

November 30, 2008 4:08pm
MANILA, Philippines - The "Big Three" oil firms have agreed to open their books of accounts for the scrutiny of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the House of Representatives said Sunday.

An article on the House of Representatives website said representatives of Petron, Shell and Chevron have expressed this position at a hearing on House Reolution 659.

Even representatives of new players Total, Flying V, Seaoil Philippines and Unioil agreed to open their books of account during the hearing conducted by the House energy committee.

The resolution, authored by senior deputy minority leader ParaƱaque Rep. Roilo Golez, called on the Commission on Audit to audit the three major oil companies to determine whether they made excessive profits from the time crude oil prices went up beyond $70 per barrel.

It also seeks to determine why despite significant variances in cost structure, the oil companies are able to sell oil products at almost identical prices and raise prices at almost the same time.

At the hearing, the COA representative said the Bureau of Internal Revenue, not COA, is the mandated agency to audit the book of accounts of oil companies.

Committee chairman Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo asked the BIR to submit a position paper concerning the oil industry, specifically on the auditing of the books of accounts of oil companies.

Norman Tilos, Executive Director of the Independent Philippine Petroleum Companies Association (IPPCA), said there should be a basis to determine the fair margin and fair return for oil companies so that the BIR or the government would have a guidepost for its auditing.

Earlier, lawmakers from partylist groups Anakpawis, Bayan Muna, and Gabriela Women's Party filed three bills to regulate prices of oil and other petroleum products in the country.

House Bill 3029 seeks to regulate the downstream petroleum industry, House Bill 3030 institutes centralized procurement of petroleum in the country, and House Bill 3031 seeks to renationalize Petron Corporation. - GMANews.TV
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