LAWMAKERS from the progressive Makabayan bloc have called for a price freeze on basic goods as oil prices continue to increase for the eighth consecutive week due to increasing global oil prices.  

The party-list representatives, led by Gabriela Rep. Arlene D. Brosas, filed House Resolution 2310 on Tuesday urging the national government to address the impact of soaring oil prices to commodities.  

“The nonstop oil price hikes are setting off an adverse domino effect on the price of basic goods and services at a time when majority of Filipino families are suffering from the economic fallout of a prolonged pandemic,” they said in the resolution.  

Local oil firms on Monday raised gasoline prices by P1.8 per liter (/L), and increased diesel and kerosene prices by P1.5/L and P1.3/L, respectively.  

The lawmakers said the price freeze on basic goods can be justified through President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s Proclamation No. 1218 signed last month extending the period of state of calamity until Sept. 12, 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic.  

Republic Act 7851 or the Price Act provides for the automatic imposition of a price freeze on basic necessities for 60 days when there is a declaration of a state of calamity.    

“President Rodrigo Duterte has not taken any decisive action to curb the rising oil prices and the consequent price hikes of basic commodities, and has instead shamelessly engaged in politicking and attacks against political opponents,” the Makabayan solons said.  

The Department of Energy has earlier asked Congress to amend the oil deregulation law in order for the government to intervene in sudden prolonged hikes in retail prices and require the unbundling of retail product costs.   

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said in a letter that the consecutive increases in oil prices is attributed to a sudden surge in global demand as countries resume more economic activities, slowed production, stockpiling ahead of winter season, and international sanctions on oil-rich nations such as Iran and Venezuela. — Russell Louis C. Ku 

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