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Bingit ng krisis sa krudo

MAY 120-araw na imbak ng mga produktong krudo ang Japan na pantustos sa pamilihan—30-araw na imbak lang ang itinakda sa Pilipinas, at inalis na ang ganoong takda nang umiral ang deregulasyon sa local oil industry. Para makapatas sa kompetisyon ang small players, tulad ng mga katotong Noel Florido’t kasamahan na umaangkat ng refined fuels mula India.

Pumatas naman sa gitgitan ang small players, unti-unting inagaw pati na ang hawak sa pamilihan ng mga dambuhalang tulad ng Pilipinas Shell—na 30% na lang ang market share ngayon, at patuloy na nababawasan…

Meron nang level playing field, meron ding laging nakaabang na banta ng oil shortage—wala na kasing takdang imbak na pantustos sa mga bibili… kapag sinamang palad na maharang ng mga pirata sa Somalia ang oil tanker na may kargang pantustos sa ‘Pinas, kasunod tiyak ang oil shortage.

Nang tinangkang samsamin—hindi sa Somalia kundi sa Batangas-- ang bulto ng krudong isasalang sa Tabangao refinery ng Pilipinas Shell kamakailan, muntik nang tumikim ng fuel shortage ang bansa. Hindi mga pirata ang humarang kundi ang Aduana ng Batangas… refined fuel na raw ang isasalang sa Tabangao na dapat patawan ng buwis na P7.35 bilyon, giit nina Customs top honcho Nap Morales at Batangas Customs collector Johnny Tan.

Mauungkat na umaabot sa 60% ng itinutustos na refined fuels sa pamilihan ay nauuwi sa power generation—kaya hindi lang fuel shortage kundi power outage ang muntik naging resulta ng samsaman sa Batangas.

Pansinin din: 17% lang ang kita ng alinmang kumpanya ng langis sa, halimbawa’y sanlitrong gas— pero 22% naman ang kita ng gobyerno mula VAT, other taxes and duties. Sa sangkilong LPG: 7% ang tubo ng kumpanya, 11% naman ang papasok na VAT sa gobyerno, mwa-ha-ha-haw!

Kung naglalaway na ang mga taga-Aduana sa magiging pabuya kaugnay ng pagsamsam, umiikot naman ang tumbong ng mga taga-Malacañang… double whammy ng fuel shortage and power outage ang kasunod. Well, the domestic fuels market make up for less than 1% of the global fuels market—and Shell can pack its bags, close shop and go elsewhere after selling its strategically located fuel station sites that can fetch better profits.

Nang magkatuusan sa kahihinatnan ng hakbang ng Aduana, biglang natameme ang Nap Morales na nagpumilit bayaran ng Shell kahit hulugan ang P7.35-bilyong pataw… tiklop din ang Finance Secretary Gary Teves na nagmungkahi for the oil giant to make cash deposit in escrow… which runs afoul of the law!

We’d rather not play cheering squad for Pilipinas Shell for winning the telling rounds in an ongoing legal tussle… but the more forward-looking can see that it’s a cinch win for the oil firm.

Yeah, the nation can’t afford fuel shortages and power outages in an election year.

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