Amendments to Republic Act (RA) 8479 or the Oil Deregulation Law are unlikely to be passed within the current Congress, the Department of Energy (DOE) said.
Energy Usec. Gerardo Erguiza said in a televised interview on Monday that most lawmakers are now preoccupied with the national and local elections on May 9, making it difficult for the amendments to be passed.
Erguiza said that the Oil Deregulation Law is still under review in the two chambers of Congress, even as the Duterte administration has two months left. He added that canvassing of votes would immediately follow the elections and that lawmakers would go around “to thank their constituencies.”
Congress will be sitting as the National Board of Canvassers for the presidential and vice-presidential votes.
The DOE has been calling for the amendment of the Oil Deregulation Law to lower local pump prices as the conflict between Russia and Ukraine persists. The Senate had expressed its support in reviewing the law, while the House energy committee approved a bill amending it.
Congress is currently on an election break until May 22. They resume sessions on May 23 and the 18th Congress will officially adjourn on June 4.
House Minority Deputy Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said in a BusinessWorld report that the Duterte administration can certify the amendment bill as an urgent measure if it is serious in pushing for the amendments and if there is “political will” to do so.
Under the Oil Deregulation Law, local pump prices are evaluated based on global oil prices – which are currently at $100 per barrel as of Thursday, Manila Time. Local fuel prices went up by as much by Php4.10 per liter on Tuesday.