Transport Leader Says Gov’t Should Go After ‘Legal Loot’ of Oil Companies


The militant Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (Piston or Unity of Drivers and Operators’ Associations Nationwide) said that the government should go after what it described as “legal looters” of motorists’ money – the giant oil companies.

BY NOEL SALES BARCELONA
Bulatlat

The militant Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (Piston or Unity of Drivers and Operators’ Associations Nationwide) said that the government should go after what it described as “legal looters” of motorists’ money – the giant oil companies.

The call comes after Bureau of Customs (BoC) Commissioner Napoleon L. Morales boasted about the BoC’s achievements in running after oil smugglers after the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) junked the temporary restraining order (TRO) filed by BSJ Fishing and Trading, Inc. to prevent the implementation of the Commissioner’s visitorial powers in its facilities at the Navotas Fish Port Complex.

Due to the lifting of the TRO, the BOC has been able to seize P2 million (US$42,018.57) worth of suspected smuggled oil, said Morales in a press briefing at the weekly Kapihan sa Sulô last Saturday, Oct. 11.

Steve Ranjo, president of Piston, however said the P2 million worth of suspected smuggled oil seized by the BoC is just a fraction of the amount being looted, legally through the continuous implementation of the Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act of 1998 and the value-added tax (VAT) on oil products.

“It’s common knowledge among transport organizations that there is some oil being smuggled and sold domestically. Morales himself said, in a meeting with Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes, that billions of pesos’ worth of oil were illegally transported to the Philippines. But it’s only a pittance compared to the billions of pesos being extracted from the motorists’ pockets because of the uncontrolled increases in petroleum prices” Ranjo said in an interview.

He added that it is the BoC’s job to go after the smugglers and seize contrabands, but said the issue of high oil prices goes beyond smuggling.

“The government should probe deeply into the matter of speculation on oil prices, over-taxation on oil such as VAT, and the inutility of government agencies in controlling soaring oil prices, despite their knowledge of how speculation increases pump prices,” Ranjo said. (Bulatlat.com)

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