"Do not blackmail the government" – Palace

November 6, 2009 9:33 am 

MANILA, Nov. 6 —Malacanang on Friday told the oil companies not to resort to blackmailing the government by making announcements that once the Executive Order 839 is lifted, there will be series of oil price increases.

Press Secretary Cerge Remonde, in his weekly media briefing at the Malacanang Palace, said the statement of oil companies of a P5-increase in pump prices of oil products was not healthy for the country.

”We appeal to oil companies to stop making grim warnings and dire projections," Remonde said, adding that: ”In the meantime, we continue to appeal to the oil companies and their executives to stop raving and ranting because they are not helping the situation and definitely they cannot blackmail this government.”

EO 839 directs oil companies to "retain the level of the retail price of petroleum products prevailing on Oct. 15, 2009, which was one week after the last landfall of typhoon 'Pepeng'.

Apart from the likely increase in oil prices, big businesses warned that the Executive Order could result in tight oil supply and low investment in the industry.

Fernando Martinez, chairman of the Independent Philippine Petroleum Companies Association, told a television interview that big and small oil companies were starting to feel the effects of the oil price cap.

But Martinez clarified that the projected P5-hike would be implemented gradually to ease the burden on consumers.

Remonde insisted that Malacanang also understands that the oil companies, like other companies, are after big profits.

The Malacanang official is also optimistic that the oil giant companies will not experience losses because of the oil price cap.

”It is expected from the businessmen, they all want profit, but we do not want to deny them of legitimate profit. After all they will continue to make business with us and continue to make profit. We are just asking them to please understand the situation now,” Remonde said.

He also said that President Arroyo issued EO 839 in response to the state of calamity the country faced after the devastation of typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng.

Remonde also said the implementation of EO 839 was only temporary so they appeal to the oil companies to understand the situation and do their own share of social responsibility while the country, particularly in Luzon, was still in the state of calamity.(PNA)

RMA/rudyma

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