The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday proposed amendments to the Oil Deregulation Law to enhance competition in the fuel sector, strengthen and institutionalize consumer protection, and protect and promote national economic security.

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda proposed a four-point amendment in response to a request from Malacañang for Congress to amend the law to provide measures against an unmitigated rise in oil prices.

Salceda said the most important component of the proposal is to create a strategic petroleum reserve that the government would stock during periods of abnormally low prices.

He said this would help ensure adequate supply at affordable domestic prices during periods of high world market prices, as well as when price increases are artificial or due to collusion among players.

The other components, he said, would require the unbundling of retail prices of fuel, updating changes in retail prices by all fuel outlets in a central government database for efficient monitoring, and price transparency.

“The database that retailers will update will be made available and presented in an easy-to-navigate format for the consuming public, so that they can make informed decisions about their purchases. That will also help undercut abnormally high prices,” he said.

He said his office is now drafting the proposed measure and will submit his version to the House leadership and to the Malacañang for the Department of Energy’s possible adoption as the administration version of the amendments.

“The strategic petroleum reserve will be especially crucial because oil is a very cyclical commodity. When oil prices rise in the global market, there really is very little you can do except release more supply. So, when oil prices are very low, we have to be countercyclical and actually buy more fuel, so that we will have spare supply to release during periods of high prices,” Salceda said. (PNA)