IMG-fc3e2b99d1b18426edceadbf120c58bd-V.jpgHouse Speaker Martin Romualdez (Speaker’s office)






House Speaker Martin Romualdez has personally warned emissaries of local oil companies that lawmakers won't hesitate to get tough on them if they turn out to be "part of the problem"--the problem being the runaway fuel prices. 

On Monday afternoon, Sept. 18, Romualdez led fellow House members in a "consultative meeting" with oil industry players at Batasan Complex in Quezon City. The main purpose of the gathering was to convince the fuel companies to hold off on pump price hikes until after Christmas. 

Romualdez appealed to the industry players and officials from the Department of Energy (DOE) to explore strategies to tackle the continuing rise in fuel prices. 

It was then apparent that the House leader meant business when he declared: “If you are part of the solution, Congress will be very appreciative and supportive of you. But if you are part of the problem, we might have to undertake measures that would be unpalatable to you." 

There have been 11 straight fuel price hikes in as many weeks. This has placed a huge strain on consumers, as fuel price spikes have a domino effect on other basic products. 

“I hope we can work together to help our people,” said Romualdez, who suggested that oil firms try to find ways to cut their profit margins and reduce fuel prices for the sake of Filipinos. 

The Leyte 1st district congressman earlier said that the government could look at suspending the collection of excise taxes or VAT (value-added tax) on oil and petroleum products---something that would have an immediate effect on pump prices. 

The oil industry representatives told Romualdez that they would relay his appeal to their principals. A follow-up meeting will take place next week, it was learned. 

Source: Manila Bulletin (