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Colmenares, Zarate refute Duterte’s claim he can’t do anything about high oil prices

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POLITIKO - The bible of Philippine Politics

Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate on Tuesday contradicted President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement that he can’t do anything about oil price hikes “even if you hang me.”

“We beg to disagree. We can do a number of things to at least mitigate or at most stop shocking oil price hikes in the country. In fact we have filing bills to achieve that since Bayan Muna was elected to Congress but the measures we filed just gathered dust,” said Colmenares.

“Also Pres. Duterte can immediately suspend or scrap the TRAIN law and this would considerably lower oil prices. He can also set a priority bills those we filed to control oil prices,” he added.

Meanwhile, Rep. Zarate said that “it appears now that the Congress leaderships are afraid of the big oil companies since they are not prioritizing Bayan Muna’s oil price slashing legislative measures.”

Rep. Zarate named three must-pass measures: the regulation of the downstream oil industry, the centralized procurement of oil and the government buyback of Petron.

Bayan Muna filed House Bill 1760 to renationalize Petron, House Bill 3676 to regulate the downstream oil industry and House Bill 3678 or the centralized procurement of petroleum in the country.

The group is calling on the House leadership to fast track these bills to shield Filipinos from escalating oil price hikes.

Duterte on Monday said the Philippines could only rely on imported oil.

“Alam mo ngayon wala tayong oil. So every time tataas ‘yung oil, automatic tataas lahat ‘yan,” he said in a speech in Maguindanao.

“Yan hindi natin ma [control]. Even if you hang me, wala tayong magawa. Bitayin mo man, ako ‘pag tumaas ‘yung oil tataas talaga ‘yung presyo because everything that you see is a product of oil,” Duterte said.

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