Petron president and CEO Ramon Ang on Monday expressed willingness to sell the oil company back to the national government.
This was mentioned by Ang during the briefing of the House ways and means committee about the price monitoring of petroleum products and the proposals to suspend or reduce the excise tax on fuel.
According to Ang, he could sell the corporation to the government anytime and the latter could pay for it "at market valuation" in the next five years.
"'Yung sina-suggest na bilhin ng gobyerno 'yung Petron, privatization, anytime po puwede ko pa ipautang sa Philippine government, bilhin ninyo ito ng over five years to pay, ano ho 'yan, I swear kung gusto ng gobyerno bilhin handa niyo na, sabihin niyo na, bebenta ko kaagad sa inyo. Pagawaan niyo na ng valuation immediately, walang arte-arte," Ang told lawmakers.
(The proposal for the government to buy Petron, anytime I could sell it and the government can pay for it for five years. If the government wants to buy it, I am ready to sell it immediately.)
"Kung sa tingin ninyo jackpot 'yung negosyong 'yan, let the government buy it, market valuation 'yan di ko kailangan tubuan ang gobyerno," Ang added.
(If you think that's a jackpot business, let the government buy it at market valuation.)
The Petron Corp. was formerly state-owned and controlled. A bill filed by Bayan Muna lawmakers Carlos Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite and Eufemia Cullamat called for the re-nationalization of the oil company.
House Bill 244 noted that the privatization, liberalization, and deregulation of the oil industry have allowed oil price increases to go unchecked. The proposed measure will assure the public of reasonable and justified prices of petroleum products.
"This bill requires, as an imperative for an urgent and long-term response to the looming crisis, the renationalization of Petron Corporation, so that the valuable government asset can truly fulfill the responsibility of the State to ensure public welfare through fair and regulated prices," the bill, filed in 2019, stated.
In a separate statement, Gaite welcomed the openness of Ang to sell Petron back to the government. He added that he is also hoping that the current administration or even the next one will take the offer so that the government can have a say in controlling oil prices.
"Indeed, there is a pressing need for [the] government to regulate and intervene in the oil industry to protect the majority of Filipinos from runaway increases in oil prices," Gaite said.
"In fact, our House Bill 244 specifically calls for the full renationalization of Petron in a span of four to five years so that we can have a midterm to long term deterrent to runaway oil price hikes," he added.
Meanwhile, there have been bills and resolutions passed calling for the suspension or reduction of the excise tax on fuel products as a response to their increasing prices.
For one, Salceda's House Bill 10438 is pushing for the reduction on the excise tax of fuel products from December 1, 2021 to June 1 of 2022 as the rise of prices of petroleum products could be a "serious dampener to economic recovery and price stabilization."
On the other hand, Deputy Speaker and Cagayan de Oro City Representative Rufus Rodriguez urged the House of Representatives to pass his proposed measure on suspending excise tax on oil products this week.
Rodriguez's House Bill No. 10246 seeks to suspend excise tax increases on oil products imposed under Section 43 of Republic Act No. 10963, or the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, for four years.
"The Speaker wants the proposed tax reduction approved immediately or as soon as possible. So let’s do it before the week is over, on the first week of our resumption of session," Rodriguez said in a statement.
After several consecutive rounds of price hikes, pump prices of petroleum products are expected to decrease this week. — RSJ/KBK, GMA News