Oil firms to slash prices ahead of long weekend

The three-day weekend is off to a good start
by Patrick Everett Tadeo | Aug 20, 2009
The three-day weekend is off to a good start--at least for motorists.

The country's biggest oil players have announced an oil price rollback by P1.50 a liter for gasoline and P1 a liter for diesel and kerosene.

Pilipinas Shell will implement the rollback at 6 p.m. while Petron and Chevron (formerly Caltex) will slash prices by 12:01 a.m. on August 21.

The rollbacks were announced after the National Economic Development Authority said oil products in the local market are overpriced by P2.30 a liter.

House Rep. Satur Ocampo of the Bayan Muna party list urged fellow legislators to fast-track the approval of pending bills that would regulate the oil industry. Ocampo is a co-author of House Bill 3029 (An Act Regulating the Downstream Petroleum Industry) and House Bill 3030 (An Act Instituting Centralized Procurement of Petroleum in the Country), which have been pending since September 2007.

Doubts have been cast over the proposed return of a regulated industry as players said oil prices should be dictated by market forces.

"The local oil industry was deregulated to promote competition. It started the independent oil players. How will you regulate an industry that's dependent on various market forces?" Chevron communications manager Toby Nebrida said. 
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