Consumer group wants government to buy Petron Bataan refinery

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A consumer group said the government must buy Petron Corporation’s 180,000-barrel refinery in Limay, Bataan to prevent the oil giant from closing the facility and to help shield the country from spikes in fuel prices.

Atty. Vic Dimagiba of Laban Konsyumer said the government should exert all efforts to keep the country’s largest and only remaining refinery in operation.

Dimagiba, a former Trade Undersecretary, pointed out that refineries can keep inventories of crude oil, then refine them into gasoline or diesel.

He added that if the government couldn’t buy the refinery, it can also consider finding a buyer that can keep it running.

Another alternative, he said, would be for San Miguel Corporation (SMC) to sell Petron, including the refinery, and find a buyer who can continue operating the facility.

Petron President and CEO Ramon Ang recently said that the company will close the refinery “very soon” over what he believes is unfair taxation of its products under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.

Dimgaiba further pointed out that SMC should have taken steps to protect its own interests when lawmakers were still discussing the tax reform measure.

Shell closed its refinery in Batangas City last August in a bid for its businesses in the Philippines to remain sustainable. Caltex, meanwhile, closed its facility in 2003.

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