The Oil Cartel jacked up again fuel prices by P2 per liter triggering uproar from advocacy groups, one of which is the nationwide transport alliance PISTON. The cartel has no reason to burden consumers further given the super-profits its members already raked even before the Oil Deregulation Law took effect in 1996.
The Philippines used to have Petron, which refined crude oil and distributed its products nationwide. Petron, established during the time of dictator Marcos, had a sister, PNOC, mandated to explore oil deposits in the country, source crude oil abroad. PNOC had a fleet of ships to transport fuel.
Petron and PNOC made money for government. They were the proverbial stone that hit two targets during the Marcos years: they served their mandate of earning profits for the government and keeping the cartel at bay, or at least prevent it from causing as much damage as it does now, the cartel could not readily blackmail Filipino consumers.
Marcos toppled in February 1986 leaving behind consumers still grumbling at the “costly” fuel that ranged from P5 to P7 per liter.
The years that followed witnessed fuel prices surging beyond the ceiling with Ason Aquino playing it cute. Before the 80’s closed, Marcos’s successor let the oil cartel riot, tripling fuel prices by 1989, to P19 per liter.
Not contented in pleasing her masters in the cartel, Aquino unleashed the floodgates to privatization. Her economic mentors prescribed the pill of liberalization, opening the country to further foreign control, “globalization” as her guardians in the IMF-WB and the Opus Dei termed it, so to usher the country to progress, create jobs that turned out to be dud.
Under her watch, major assets of the Filipino people were put to the auction block, in most cases, for a song – ABS-CBN, MERALCO, PNB, Petron, PNOC, National Investment Development Corporation (NIDC), PAL, PLDT, and the National Steel Corporation, among others.
NIDC, for one, ran coconut mills and edifices, a conglomerate that could run to billions of pesos today.
In Panay, Aquino moved the island backward by decommissioning the Panay Railway that linked Roxas and Iloilo cities. It had the potential of circuiting the island to connect with Antique and Aklan.
The locomotive still remains the most efficient mode of land transport today and it’s a pity that Aquino who some want canonized saint, betrayed her people by her subservience to foreign dictation, notably from the International Monetary Fund – World Bank (IMF-WB) combine, an instrumentality of the United States military-industrial complex.
Our Asian neighbors in contrast, pushed through their own national energy program amid pressures from the US and the IMF-WB.
An economy that has no backbone and trapped in huge debts merely condemned its people to deeper wretchedness by enacting the Oil Deregulation Law. Saudi Aramco and its partner Mobile own only 40 percent of Petron; majority is still owned by the Philippine government through SSS and GSIS but the foreign giants still control its management.
I don’t see any wisdom opening the economy wider for foreign plunderers, nor holding a cha-cha (charter change) to do away with provisions limiting foreign interest in corporations to 40 %.
There is no need for that: the Philippine economy is already in foreign hands, supine and complete. Cha-cha is not the answer, based as it does on the superstition dished out by a PR outfit called “CorrectPhilippines.org” that the country is “protectionist” since Cory’s time.
The aims of the cha-cha movement: redeem the Aquinos’s reputation as US lackeys, and, the more important, mangle the political provisions in the Charter so to turn the Philippines to de facto one sprawling base of the US military. No matter how loud PNoy disowns cha-cha, his hands are visible because the front runners of the movement are his own poodles in Congress like Sonny Belmonte. (to be continued)