Oil firms owe oil fund between P8-P9B

Published by rudy Date posted on April 1, 2009

MANILA, Philippines — The three biggest oil companies owe the government between P8 to P 9 billion in contributions to the defunct Oil Price Stabilization Fund (OPSF), the chairman of the House committee on ways and means said Wednesday.

Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez said this was the initial findings of the committee after conducting hearings on the unpaid oil fund of the companies.

But the congressman acknowledged that the government “also had shortcomings for not implementing the OPSF.”

Suarez earlier filed House Resolution No. 845 asking the chamber to look into the alleged unpaid contributions, excluding surcharges and interests, by Pilipinas Shell, Petron Corp., and Chevron.

The OPSF was voided on July 13, 1998 when Republic Act 8479 or An Act Deregulating the Downstream Oil Industry became effective.

But Suarez had said the oil firms stopped contributing to the OPSF since November 1997 when the original version of the oil deregulation law, RA 8180, was crafted.

RA 8180, however, was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

He said the oil firms should have continued paying the OPSF from November 1997 until July 1998, when the new oil deregulation law took effect.

At that time, Suarez said, the crude importation cost was declining, but pump prices remained constant. Under such a scenario, oil companies should have contributed to the OPSF mechanism, he added.

The OPSF was created by virtue of Presidential Decree 1956, as amended by Executive Order 137, to reimburse oil companies for cost increases on crude and imported petroleum products, resulting from exchange rate adjustments and/ or increases in world market prices.

OPSF was intended to stabilize prices of petroleum products for longer periods despite exchange rate adjustments or world price changes. –Lira Dalangin-Fernandez, INQUIRER.net

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