POSTSCRIPT / August 10, 2000 / Thursday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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Is your congressman for OilEx, cheap gas?

THE battle lines are drawn on the proposed National Oil Exchange (OilEx). This being the eve of the 2001 elections, it will be interesting to watch how senators, congressmen, and the President will act on the bill creating the revolutionary OilEx.

Bantayan natin sila! See if your congressman and your favorite senators will vote in favor of cheaper gasoline and other oil products. Watch President Estrada. See who among our officials who claim to be for the poor are in the pockets of the oil cartel.

The OilEx bill filed by Bataan Rep. Enrique T. Garcia has been reported out favorably and unanimously by the House committee on government enterprises and privatization chaired by Bulacan Rep. Ricardo Silverio for floor deliberation.

The ensuing debate and voting will show who are for and who are against forcing the lowering of the prices of fuel and other goods whose prices are affected by fuel.

* * *

AS envisioned, the OilEx will be a non-profit corporation. It will take over the buying of the entire fuel requirements of the country by accepting bids and negotiating directly with some 40 refineries and traders throughout the world (including the three local refineries).

The bidding, which will be done electronically, will be transparent. Every bidder will know what everybody else is offering. For instance, it is known even now that Singapore prices are $3 cheaper per barrel than the price of local refineries of Petron, Shell and Caltex.

The fuel, estimated at 24 billion liters in one year, will be kept in government storage facilities in Subic and Clark. If they win in the bidding, the local oil companies may use their own depots.

The fuel is then distributed by the OilEx through the existing channels with only the cost of operations added to the acquisition cost. The local refineries will not be allowed to sell directly to consumers, but must course their products through the OilEx by joining the bidding.

* * *

TO help you monitor your representative, we list here the congressmen who are for the OilEx at this stage. We will see who will stick to their position when the bulging oil delivery truck comes calling on Congress.

Speaker Manuel Villar, a seasoned businessman who knows a good, workable deal when he sees one, is all-out for the OilEx. This is the main reason why the OilEx bill is moving despite its not having been certified by the President.

So far, 184 out of the 220 members of the House have signed the bill as co-sponsors. This number is more than enough to assure passage. Check if your congressman is among them.

* * *

THEY are: Hussin Amin (Sulu), Renato Leviste (Oriental Mindoro), Francis Joseph Escudero (Sorsogon), Rolando Andaya Jr. (Camarines Sur), Joker Arroyo Makati), Robert Ace Barbers (Surigao del Norte), Rolando Briones (Cavite), Benjamin Cruz (Butil), Antonio Diaz (Zambales), Eduardo Ermita (Batangas), Simeon Garcia Jr. (Nueva Ecija), Eduardo Gullas (Cebu), Ernesto F. Herrera (Bohol), Josefina Joson (Nueva Ecija), Julita Lorenzo-Villareal (Nueva Ecija), Clavel Martinez (Cebu), Leonardo Montemayor (Aba), Rosenda Ann Ocampo (Manila), Roy Padilla Jr. (Camarines Norte), Amadeo Perez Jr. (Pangasinan), Hilarion Ramiro Jr. (Misamis Occidental), Isidro Rodriguez Jr. (Rizal),

Federico Sandoval (Malabon-Navotas), Ricardo C. Silverio (Bulacan), Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado (Bulacan), Bernardo Vergara (Baguio City), Lawrence Wacnang (Kalinga-CAR), Juan Miguel Zubiri (Bukidnon), Plaridel Abaya (Cavite), Cresenta Paez (Coop-Natcco), Vicente Andaya Jr. (Capiz), Joseph Durano (Cebu), Benjamin Cappleman (Ifugao-CAR), Emilio Macias (Negros Oriental), Victor Sumulong (Antipolo), Prospero Amatong (Compostelo Valley), Augusto Syjuco Jr. (Iloilo), Josephine Dominguez (Mountain Province), Ernesto Nieva (Manila), Melvyn Eballe (Apec), Aurora Cerilles (Zamboanga del Sur), Alipio Cirio Badelles (Lanao del Norte),

Jaime Jacob (Camarines Sur), Florencio Abad (Batanes), Sergio Antonio Apostol (Leyte), Erico Aumentado (Bohol), Salacnib Baterina (Ilocos Sur), Danton Bueser (Laguna), Teodoro Cruz (Pangasinan), Didagen Dilangalen (Maguindanao-ARMM), Gerardo Espina (Biliran), Jose Mari Gonzales (San Juan), Magtanggol Gunigundo (Valenzuela), George Hofer (Zamboanga del Sur), Edgar Lara (Cagayan), Benasing Macarambon (Lanao del Sur-ARMM), Edgar Mendoza (Batangas), Antonio Eduardo Nachura (Western Samar), Diogenes Osabel (Alagad), Pedro Pancho (Bulacan), Nestor Ponce Jr. (Manila), Ralph Recto (Batangas), Oscar Rodriguez (Pampanga),

Vicente Sandoval (Palawan), Grace Singson (Ilocos Sur), Wigberto Tañada (Quezon), Romualdo Vicencio (Northern Samar), Edith Yotoko-Villanueva (Negros Occidental), Emily Lopez (Guimaras), Ronald Cosalan (Benguet-CAR), Generoso Tulagan (Pangasinan), Dante Liban (Quezon City), Ma. Catalina Loreto-Go (Leyte), Emerito Calderon (Cocofed), Antonio Yapha Jr. (Cebu), Abdullah Mangotara (Lanao del Norte), Rodolfo Tuazon (Western Samar), Angelito Sarmiento (Bulacan), Rolex Suplico (Iloilo), Rodrigo Duterte( Davao City), Luis Asistio (Caloocan), Joey Hizon (Manila), J. Mayo Almario (Davao Oriental), Constantino Jaraula (Cagayan de Oro), Heherson Alvarez (Isabela),

Benigno Aquino III (Tarlac), Rodolfo Bacani (Manila), Feliciano Belmonte Jr. (Quezon City), Ignacio Bunye (Muntinlupa), Nancy Cuenco (Cebu City), Zenaida Ducut (Pampanga), Enrique T. Garcia (Bataan), Raul M. Gonzalez (Iloilo City), Ernesto Herrera (Bohol), Gregorio Ipong (North Cotabato), Jose Macario Laurel (Batangas), Ayong Maliksi (Cavite), Narciso Monfort (Iloilo), Francis Nepomuceno (Pampanga), Carlos Padilla (Nueva Vizcaya), Jacinto Paras (Negros Oriental), Marcial Punzalan Jr. (Quezon), Ramon Reyes (Isabela), Antonino Roman (Bataan), Rogelio Sarmiento (Compostela Valley),

Danilo Suarez (Quezon), Vicente Valera (Abra-CAR), Ma. Amelita Villarosa (Occidental Mindoro), Roy Young (Promdi), Rodolfo F. Gonzales (Sorsogon), Elias Bulut (Apayao-CAR), Eduardo Pilapil (Veterans), Gerry Salapuddin (Basilan), Pacifico Fajardo (Nueva Ecija), Jovito Plameras Jr. (Antique), Leovigildo Banaag (Agusan del Norte), Simeon Datumanong (Maguindanao-ARMM), Ma. Elena Palma-Gil (Davao Oriental), Allen Quimpo (Aklan), Mamintal Adiong (Lanao del Sur-ARMM), Angelo Montilla (Sultan Kudarat), Rodolfo Aguinaldo (Cagayan),

Anthony Dequiña (North Cotabato), Manuel Roxas (Capiz), Jurdino Romualdo (Camiguin), Roseller Barinaga (Zamboanga del Norte), Angeles Carloto (Zamboanga del Norte), Tomas Dumpit (La Union), Roan Libarios (Agusan del Norte), Augusto Baculio (Misamis Oriental), Rodolfo Albano, Alan Peter Cayetano (Pateros-Taguig), Emilio Espinosa Jr. (Masbate), James Gordon Jr. (Zambales), Uliran Joaquin (Laguna), Renato Magtubo (Sanlakas), Edmundo Reyes (Marinduque), Asani Tammang (Sulu), Napoleon Beratio (Cavite), Nimfa Garin (Iloilo), Constantino Navarro Jr. (Surigao del Norte), Patricia Sarenas (Abanse Pinay), Romeo Jalosjos (Zamboanga del Norte), Pantaleon Alvarez (Davao del Norte), Alex Bascug (Agusan del Sur),

Michael Defensor (Quezon City), Salvio Fortuno (Camarines Sur), Jesnar Falcon (Surigao del Sur), Rene Silos (Apec), Agapito Aquino (Makati), Joaquin Chipeco Jr. (Laguna), Vida Espinosa (Masbate), Norma Imperial (Albay), Simeon Kintanar (Cebu), Alfredo Marañon Jr. (Negros Occidental), Loretta Ann Rosales (Akbayan), Alejandro Urro (Zamboanga del Sur), Romeo Candazo (Marikina), Henry Lanot (Pasig), Benjamin Lim (Pangasinan), Manuel Ortega (La Union), Gorgonio Unde (SCFO), Raoul del Mar (Cebu City), Harian Abayon (Northern Samar),

Hernani Braganza (Pangasinan), Gilberto Duavit (Rizal), Jose Apolinario Lozada (Negros Occidental), Eladio Jala (Bohol), Alfredo Abueg (Palawan), Franklin Bautista (Davao del Sur), Ma. Angela Cua (Quirino), Orlando Fua Jr. (Siquijor), Nur Jaafar (Tawi-Tawi-ARMM), Marcelino Libanan (Eastern Samar), Prospero Pichay Jr. (Surigao del Sur), Fausto Seachon Jr. (Masbate), Manuel Andaya (Oriental Mindoro), Antonio Floirendo Jr. (Davao del Norte), Jesli Lapus (Tarlac), Rafael Nantes (Quezon), Joey Sarta Salceda (Albay), and Eduardo Veloso (Leyte). If we missed anyone or erroneously included anybody, please tell us.

* * *

IN the Senate, a counterpart bill (SB 1858) was filed principally by reelectionist Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile. Many senators asked about the OilEx idea were generally in favor of it, but there is yet no drawing of the lines as clearly as in the House.

We can expect senators, as well as congressmen and possibly even the President, to heed the last survey of Pulse Asia showing that 58 percent of those polled nationwide were for establishing the OilEx in answer to continually rising fuel prices.

The same survey showed that 67 percent of respondents believe that, contrary to a claim of President Estrada, the government is not helpless and can in fact do something about rising fuel prices.

It would be risky for a politician to openly cast his lot with the oil cartel in clear opposition to the people reeling from rising prices.

* * *

(First published in the Philippine STAR of August 10, 2000)

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